KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Anti-corruption group C4 Center today denied defaming Health Minister Dr Adham Baba by linking his private business to the government supply of Covid-19 laboratory tests.
C4’s law firm Asheeq Ali & Co said in its reply to Dr Adham’s notice of demand dated May 12 that C4 was unable to accede to Dr Adham’s demands for RM30 million in damages and a public apology.
The anti-graft non-governmental organisation said in a statement last May 11 that Dr Adham’s private clinic chain, Klinik Adham, was connected to Khazanah Jaya Sdn Bhd, a property development company reportedly under a corruption investigation over its supply of a laboratory construction project to the Ministry of Health (MOH). The health minister has denied a conflict of interest in the supply of coronavirus lab tests to the government.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is reportedly investigating contracts worth at least RM30 million to supply MOH Covid-19 tests, personal protective equipment (PPE), and face masks.
“The statement was made in respect of a matter of public interest which falls within the purview of our client’s remit,” said Asheeq Ali & Co in its reply to Dr Adham today.
“Our client has an interest and duty to communicate its concerns on such matter. The public has a corresponding interest to know of such information. The statement raised questions which were, and are, the source of public disquiet.
“Your client as the Minister of Health was asked to provide an explanation of the matters raised in the interest of transparency and accountability.”
The law firm said C4’s statement was honestly made without any malice intended.
“The meanings or innuendo attributed to the statement as set out in your paragraph 7 are, with respect, far-fetched. Our client denies them.”
Dr Adham’s lawyers said in their notice of demand that C4’s statement was defamatory and libellous and insinuated that the minister had misused his power, was unfit to hold a public or legislative position, and was unprincipled and corrupt, among other things.
“We have instructions to accept service of process if your client is minded to proceed with legal action,” replied C4’s lawyers.