21 September 2017
NSTP pays RM450,000 to Guan Eng, Ramasamy in defamation suit
This comes after NSTP drops appeal of 2013 defamation case in Federal Court.
GEORGE TOWN: The New Straits Times Press (NSTP) has paid Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Deputy CM II P Ramasamy RM450,000 in damages and costs after the newspaper company dropped an appeal at the apex court recently over a 2013 defamation lawsuit.
Lim’s special legal officer Raja Syarafina Raja Shuib said NSTP had filed a withdrawal notice dated Aug 29 at the Federal Court.
The withdrawal notice meant NSTP would not pursue a further appeal at the apex court, after an appellate court decision favouring Lim and Ramasamy last September.
“Opinion is free, facts are sacred. We continue to respect the freedom and importance of the press.
“But above and beyond that is our greater respect for truth, and those entrusted to disseminate factually accurate news.
“Once again, the NST has been proven in court to slander and publish false news reports against non-BN political personalities.
“Unfortunately, losing defamation cases such as this has not deterred them from persisting with such slander,” Raja Syarafina told a press conference at Komtar today.
6 September 2016
NSTP ordered to pay RM200,000 damages to Guan Eng, Ramasamy
The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya today ordered the New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd (NSTP) and its former journalist to pay Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy damages of RM200,000 each for defamation.
A three-person bench chaired by Justice Lim Yee Lan unanimously allowed the appeal brought by Guan Eng and Ramasamy to set aside a High Court decision.
They were appealing against the George Town High Court’s decision in November last year which dismissed the defamation suit they filed against the English daily and Predeep Nambiar over an article titled ‘Indian-interest group claims thugs interrupted meeting’ published on its website on Dec 4, 2013.
Justice Lim said judgment had been entered against NSTP and Predeep as the words used in the article had exposed Guan Eng and Ramasamy to ridicule, hatred or contempt.
She said the article would have been read by many and therefore element of publication of the article has been proven.
She said considering the facts and circumstances of the case, there was no urgency to publish the article and that it was a necessity for the newspaper to get a response and verification from Guan Eng and Ramasamy over the allegations against them before the article was published.
Justice Lim said the court found that the article was not a piece of responsible journalism for the respondents to be entitled to defence of qualified privilege.
She said the High Court decision cannot be sustained which required the appellate court’s intervention.
The panel, which also included Justices Badariah Sahamid and Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal, awarded RM50,000 in legal costs to Guan Eng and Ramasamy.
The court also directed that the RM100,000 legal costs paid by Guan Eng and Ramasamy for the court proceedings at the High Court, to be refunded to them within 14 days from today.