Guan Eng, Ramasamy awarded RM200k each over defamatory report
Getting a verification after publication serves no purpose, says Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal today awarded RM200,000 each to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his deputy, P Ramasamy, against an Umno-linked publication and writer over a defamatory article published online.
A three-man bench, chaired by Lim Yee Lan, said there was no doubt the article posted on Dec 4, 2013 was to ridicule, cause hatred and contempt of the duo in the minds of the right-thinking public.
In reversing the findings of the High Court last year, the court in the unanimous ruling, said the element of publication had been proven.
She said the article would have been read by many.
Lim said it was a necessity for the newspaper to have obtained a response on allegations made against Guan Eng and Ramasamy.
“Getting a verification after the publication serves no purpose. Therefore, the article was not a piece of responsible journalism,” said Lim, who sat with judges Dr Badariah Sahamid and Harminder Singh Dhaliwal.
She said as such the findings of the High Court were wrong and it called for appellate court intervention.
Guan Eng and Ramasamy, represented by Mureli Navaratnam, were also awarded RM50,000 in costs.
The bench also ordered publisher New Straits Times Press Bhd, which owned the New Straits Times online media, to refund RM100,000 to the duo within 14 days.
Judicial Commissioner Azmi Ariffin last November, in dismissing the defamation suit, ordered the two politicians to pay the sum in legal costs to the English daily and its journalist, Predeep Nambiar.
Guan Eng and Ramasamy claimed Predeep and NST had intentionally, incorrectly and maliciously caused the article to be written, printed and published.
Both NST and Predeep, represented by Leong Wai Hong, had denied defaming Guan Eng and Ramasamy, stating that they were merely reporting what was said by Hindraf National Adviser N Ganesan, who held a press conference in Bayan Baru on Dec 4 to make the claims.