Ummi withdraws libel suit against Baginda, Mkini

Businessperson Ummi Hafilda Ali today withdrew her libel suit filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court against former business partner Baginda Minda and news portal Malaysiakini, but will refile the action at a future date.

This is after an understanding was reached between the lawyers of involved parties, in order to avoid further complications arising from errors in the writ of summons against the Sarawak PKR member.

NONEHowever presiding High Court Judge VT Singham, noting that the writ, if it is refiled, shall be the third such action, imposed restrictions on Ummi (right) and urged lawyers involved to be more dilligent with their paperwork.

“The court allows the liberty to refile with the condition that it will be the last action, if the plaintif still want to refile.

“The court will not entertain any misuse of the court process. Any party who files an action must be ready and have their documents in order.”

Singham had earlier instructed the court to stand down and the lawyers to confer on how best to resolve the matter without causing more delays or interruptions to proceedings.

Ummi’s lawyer, Zulhilmi Wagiman, admitted when questioned by Singham that Baginda’s name was spelt wrongly in the writ and his address was also not correct, calling them “minor errors”.

The errors was pointed out by Baginda’s lawyer Yusmadi Yusof, who had also applied for the case to be struck out on those very grounds.

Baginda, Ummi are bankrupts

Yusmadi had also applied after the case was called this morning, to postpone proceedings for a short time as he found out that his client was a possible bankrupt.

NONEHe argued that if that is so, according to section 38(1) of the Bankrupt Act, Baginda (left) “cannot maintain any legal action”, including mounting a legal defence against Ummi’s suit without the express permission of the Insolvency Department.

His preliminary search with the department was inconclusive though proceedings exist against Baginda, and there is no sure record of him being actually declared a bankrupt.

As such he wanted time to get a reply to his direct query to the department’s director-general.

However, the withdrawal of the suit rendered his application unnecessary.

In a similar twist, Zulhilmi then told the court that his client, Ummi, is also currently a bankrupt, though she is in the “uplifting” process and being cleared.

He, however, has obtained a letter from the Insolvency Department that brooked no objection against Ummi’s suit.

But he also informed the judge that there will no problem with the re-filing as well, as Ummi is in the process of being cleared from her bankrupt status.

Ummi sued Baginda for libel when the latter hit out at her for making allegations against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, with allegations of his own.

This is the second time she has filed the action as her previous one was thrown out as neither of the counsels for the parties in the case turned up for the hearing. – Mkini

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