KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Frozen meat supplier Raihanah Cold Storage Sdn Bhd is mulling a RM50 million lawsuit against Umno blogger Datuk Zaharin Mohd Yasin for defamation over a Facebook post linking the company’s complicity in the alleged smuggling of ‘non-halal’ meat.
Lawyer Datuk Mohd Haaziq Pillay, who represented the company, said the RM50 million lawsuit involved allegations made by Zaharin in a Facebook post, in which the accompanying caption of the post appeared to suggest that the company and his clients were involved in selling meat which is “haram” under Islamic principles.
“Therefore, my firm has sent a notice of demand to Zaharin yesterday asking him to issue a public apology and sign an undertaking to not to reproduce such remarks elsewhere within eight days from today.
“If there is no apology and a retraction of the statement (from Zaharin) then the writ will be filed,” Haaziq said.
Apart from the company, Mohd Haaziq also represented the company’s directors — Rahman Sheik Abdullah and his wife Raihanah Kasim — who were both named plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
A photo of Rahman and the company’s Company Commission of Malaysia (SSM) details were uploaded by Zaharin on December 25 at 6.31pm, which went on to garner 824 comments and 1,900 shares.
Haaziq said it was common knowledge based on media reports that the parties involved in the smuggling of non-halal imported meat being passed off as halal were the importers.
He explained that his clients were merely the distributors who are involved in the business of buying and distributing meat which are primarily mutton and beef.
“At all times, Rahman Sheikh Abdullah, Raihanah Kasim and Raihanah Cold Storage Sdn Bhd ensures that the meat is bought from suppliers in which a Certificate of Slaughter in accordance with Islamic rites is furnished by the suppliers.
“Therefore, the Facebook post as well as the comments and shares that followed is considered derogatory of my clients as they are Muslims themselves and to the company’s business reputation,” he said, adding that Rahman had also lodged a police report against Zaharin on the same day of the Facebook posting.
On December 30, both Rahman and Raihanah were charged in the Johor Baru Sessions Court following the media exposé of a purported syndicate that repackaged non-halal meat with halal meat. Both claimed trial.