The dispute between two-time marathon champion Soh Rui Yong and executive director of Singapore Athletics (SA) Syed Abdul Malik Aljunied continues as the runner has now filed a defamation writ against the sports official.
Mentioning this on a Facebook post on Tuesday (27 August), Mr Soh said that he has now taken matters to the courts after Mr Malik failed to respond to the Letter of Demand for Defamation issued by his lawyers on 19 August.
In the earlier legal documents, Mr Soh, through his lawyer Clarence Lun of Foxwood LLC, demanded the Executive Director to do the following:
- A signed written undertaking to not publish anymore statements which are defamatory in nature.
- Make compensation for damages, which will be agreed upon
- Issue a public apology through The Straits Times for his actions
The reason why Mr Soh issued the legal letter in the first place was because he was unhappy with Mr Malik for the allegedly defamatory remarks that Mr Malik posted on his Facebook page on 17 August.
On 17 August, Mr Malik posted a picture with two little girls on his Facebook account, and he wrote that he hoped at least one of them would take up 400m hurdles in the future.
However, in his caption, he also stated, “Do be careful of the Marathoner, it could end up messing up your mind and heart”, allegedly referring to Mr Soh.
If that is not all, a netizen asked in the comment section of Mr Malik’s post, in what sense did the marathoner mess up his mind and heart. Mr Malik replied that he was pointing to “one particular runner so far” who has “messed up his sense of logic and reason beyond repair”.
Mr Malik added, “It seemed to have drained him of empathy, compassion, gratitude and the capability to love others”.
Upon reading his comments, Mr Soh’s lawyers then issued a claim for defamation, which Mr Malik failed to respond to date. This forced Mr Soh to now file a defamation writ, bringing this issue to the court.
“Disappointingly, Malik did not respond to admit his wrongdoings. This matter will now go to courts as we have filed a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim against Malik,” Mr Soh wrote in his post yesterday.
He added, “Let this be a warning to all sports official – if you’re going to denounce athletes publicly, you better be able to back it up, or you can and will be held accountable. I now wish Malik all the best, the sooner you apologize, the better for you, SA and SNOC.”
Responding to this whole legal saga, the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said that it is not part of the legal proceedings between the marathoner and Mr Malik, TODAY reported.
“The exchanges of letters between Soh Rui Yong and SNOC have been well-publicised by Soh Rui Yong, and (we) have nothing to do with the post made by Malik Aljunied in his personal capacity,” said the spokesperson, adding that SNOC will not provide any more comments regarding the lawsuit.
In the beginning of the month, SNOC rejected SA’s nomination of Mr Soh to be included in the contingent representing Singapore at the SEA Games in the Philippines this year.