Gratuity issue: LTAT withdraws suit against Rafizi

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KUALA LUMPUR – The Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) has withdrawn its defamation suit filed against PKR Vice-President Mohd Rafizi Ramli over his alleged statements on gratuity payments to armed forces veterans.

Mohd Rafizi’s counsel Saiful Izham Ramli when contacted by reporters today said LTAT withdrew the suit during the proceeding in the chambers of Judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim yesterday, which was also attended LTAT’s lawyers, Izzat Othman and Ahmad Syateer Izzat.

Saiful said the court cancelled the suit without mentioning any costs and liberty for LTAT file a new suit.

The trial had already begun, with LTAT calling its first witness, LTAT Deputy Chief Executive, Datuk Zakaria Sharif to testify on Feb 28 last year.

On May 6, 2016, LTAT filed a defamation suit against Mohd Rafizi on three statements issued by the latter about gratuity payments to veterans of the armed forces, seeking general and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction to prevent the defendant or his agents from publishing any further defamatory statements against the plaintiff.

In its statement of claim, LTAT alleged that Mohd Rafizi issued a statement under the title ‘Gratuity payments for armed forces veterans delayed’; LTAT needs to disclose financial risk due to 1MDB’ on his blog and Facebook page on March 21, 2016.

The statement also alleged that on March 24, 2016, Mohd Rafizi issued a statement which was published in Malaysiakini portal in an article entitled ‘Rafizi: I have document showing LTAT’s link to 1MDB’.

On March 28, 2016, Mohd Rafizi was alleged to have repeated the statement on his Facebook page via the post entitled: ‘The Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB confirms impact of 1MDB’s financial crisis on LTAT.’

The plaintiff claimed that the statement issued by Mohd Rafizi accused indirectly or implied LTAT did not care about the benefits and welfare of ex-military personnel, and did not the have sufficient funds to disburse to them. – Bernama