July 20, 2023
PETALING JAYA – Make an unconditional open apology and retract statements over the Felda settlers debt cancellation within 24 hours or face legal action, says a letter of demand to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The letter of demand was issued by law firm Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership (RDS) on behalf of the former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday (July 18).
The letter said that the statement made by Anwar about the debts not being cancelled during Perikatan’s administration was slanderous and made without factual basis to tarnish Muhyiddin’s image.
RDS said that Anwar on July 7 had allegedly issued a defamatory statement as well as misleading statements during the Felda Settlers Day 2023 in Serdang regarding the settlers’ debt cancellation which was streamed live on Facebook and widely disseminated with the aim of bringing down Muhyiddin’s reputation, the firm said, adding it has been watched 63,900 times as of Tuesday.
“Our client (Muhyiddin), on July 8, refuted the false and misleading statement by Anwar through his Facebook account. The client has also provided an explanation on the issue where he had cancelled the debt during his administration in 2021.
“Despite this, Anwar proceeded to slander our client during a dialogue in Universiti Utara Malaysia,” the solicitors said.
“The statement, which is a lie, false and misleading, in its ordinary and natural meaning or sarcasm, has tarnished and damaged the good name and reputation of our client and tarnished his image and integrity as a former prime minister and national leader.
“The statement also creates hatred and erodes the people’s trust in our client until it drags our client into public humiliation and scandal.
“It has caused our client to suffer damage and loss as well as prejudice when the public looks askance at our client and his family,” Muhyiddin’s solicitors said.
They also demanded for Anwar to submit documentation that he, as Finance Minister, provided the approval to dispose of Felda settlers’ debt worth RM8.3bil that had purportedly failed to be implemented by Muhyiddin.
“If you fail to comply with these demands within the stated period, we have been asked to initiate legal action against you,” the letter stated.
Previously, Muhyiddin said former Felda chairman Tan Sri Idris Jusoh had issued a statement on Feb 24 confirming that RM8.3bil of Felda settlers’ total debt of RM12.1bil was waived in 2021, and that it had a major impact on Felda’s cash flow.
In a written parliamentary reply on Feb 23, Law and Institutional Reform Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said also said the government was putting a halt to an initiative started by Muhyiddin’s administration to abolish a portion of Felda settlers’ loans amounting to RM8.3bil.