Klang MP Charles Santiago has declined to apologise to preacher Zakir Naik, who had threatened to sue the lawmaker over allegedly defamatory remarks.
In a response letter, lawyers representing Charles said he saw no reason to apologise as his remarks were not defamatory.
On Nov 25, the DAP leader reportedly said the arrest of 12 individuals under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) over alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were because of criticism of Zakir.
Zakir's legal team yesterday claimed the remarks were motivated by malice and hatred.
The remarks, which the letter described as fictitious, is said to have injured Zakir's reputation and caused him to suffer humiliation and ridicule.
Charles' response from Messrs S N Fam & Co said the remarks were fair comments of public interest and without "malice".
"Reading the statements made by our clients in totality and not selectively, our client as an MP is questioning the authorities in relation to the process of investigation, failure by police to produce any evidence and the justification of the said arrest under Sosma.
"Our client vehemently denied that the alleged statements are capable of bearing or been understood to bear any of the meanings (of defamation)," the response letter said.
It added that Charles' reserved the right to defend himself should there be a defamation suit.
Last month, Zakir (above) had sued Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy for defamation.
In August, the preacher, who is wanted by Indian authorities, sent legal notices to Charles, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran, former ambassador Dennis Ignatius and DAP MP Satees Muniandy.