Businessman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan yesterday apologised to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for any embarrassment caused to the former prime minister over his article in the New Sunday Times published on June 11, 2006.
The article was in relation to the then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s meeting with Dr Mahathir in Japan.
Kalimullah’s apology was contained in a settlement statement in his RM50 million defamation suit against lawyer Matthias Chang Wen Chieh.
The statement was read out by Chang’s counsel Datuk R K Nathan in chambers, acoording to the counsel.
Nathan told reporters that both the plaintiff and defendant had reached an amicable settlement in the RM50 million defamation suit and RM150 million counter claim respectively.
He said High Court Judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad recorded the settlement.
Nathan said that the defendant unreservedly withdrew and retracted all allegations he made against Kalimullah during a press conference held on June 13, 2006 and apologised to him and ECM Libra for any embarrassment caused to him as a result.
“And the plaintiff also withdrew and retracted all allegations he had made in respect of his article on June 11, 2006 in the New Sunday Times with regard to the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s meeting with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Japan and also apologised to Tun Dr Mahathir for any embarrassment caused thereby,” he said.
Nathan also said there was no order as to costs.
Meanwhile, Chang told reporters that he felt vindicated as Kalimullah had unreservedly apologised over the alegations on Dr Mahatahir in his article.
“To me it was important that Tun Dr Mahathir had been vindicated as well as me,” he said.
Kalimullah also said that he felt vindicated and glad that the allegations had been withdrawn, as well as for the apology and retraction made by the defendant.
“My family, friends and I have gone through tremendous stress and duress because of these baseless allegations,” he said.
“I accept his apology with an open mind and want to move on. This should never have happened but I am glad it is over,” said Kalimullah, who was represented by counsel Prakash Menon.
Kalimullah had filed the defamation suit on June 29,2006 after Chang had allegedly made statements against him on June 13 the same year at a press conference, a report of which was published in the Singapore Straits Times through its Malaysian correspondent, Leslie Lau.
Chang, previously a political secretary to Dr Mahathir, filed a counter-claim against Kalimullah on July 14, 2006,seeking RM150 million in damages among others.
The settlement came while the suit was still being heard in court with the hearing scheduled to continue today. The court before this had heard Kalimullah’s testimony while the defendant had yet to present his case.