GEORGE TOWN, Aug 4, 2015:
The High Court granted Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng RM300,000 in damages after the latter sued a news portal, its journalist and a non-governmental organisation over a article published two years ago.
Judicial Commisioner Datuk Nordin Hassan also ordered the three defendants to pay Lim RM300,000 in damages with a 5% interest per annum and RM30,000 in legal costs, for the piece entitled “Guan Eng has failed, says NGO” which was published in Free Malaysia Today (FMT) in 2013.
In his judgment, Nordin said the court had taken into account the arguments of both parties and found that heritage expert Jimmy Lim’s statement which was reported was defamatory.
“The defence’s justification, fair comment and qualified privilege all failed,” said Nordin when delivering the verdict.
Nordin said the court found that the article had caused injury to Guan Eng’s reputation.
“The story is found to be libellous and has damaged the plaintiff’s reputation and standing,” he ruled.
Nordin also ordered the article to be retracted.
Guan Eng, was represented by counsel, N. Murali while Jimmy Lim was represented by Baljit Singh, V. Amareson and Rowena Yam.
FMT and Athi Shankar were represented by Clement Lopez.
Lopez said his client will appeal to “protect journalistic integrity”.
In his statement of claim, Guan Eng alleged that the article published was defamatory with the intention to hurt his integrity as Chief Minister.