Legal notice: Muhammad Shafee explaining the case to reporters.
KUALA LUMPUR: An online news portal has been given an additional 48 hours to respond to a legal notice for allegedly publishing a defamatory article against Fuelsubs House Sdn Bhd.
The legal firm representing Fuelsubs, Shafee & Co, had initially given news portal The Malaysian Insider 14 days to reply to a legal notice sent last month.
Veteran lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the news portal responded by saying it needed more time.
“We have given them another 48 hours. Wednesday (Aug 20) will be their last chance,” Muhammad Shafee told a press conference at his office yesterday.
Muhammad Shafee’s clients claimed that the article by the news portal insinuated that they did not have any expertise or credibility to qualify them to bid for the national fuel subsidy rationalisation programme.
The lawyer said the news portal must give a “satisfactory response” by either retracting or correcting the article, which was published on July 15.
Should the case go to court, Muhammad Shafee said, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Wahid Omar would be subpoenaed as a witness.
“He is very much aware of the proposal so he would be able to tell us how serious was the evaluation of it (Fuelsubs) by the Government,” added Muhammad Shafee.
Muhammad Shafee said the article, which was defamatory in nature, could also cause loss of reputation and possible loss of the contract for Fuelsubs.
In the earlier letter of demand, the legal firm demanded an unreserved apology to be published in major newspapers as well as a sum of RM100mil as compensation.
Recently, Fuelsubs announced it would pay RM10mil for a 30% stake in Datasonic Bhd, a smart-card producer, if the company secured the award to implement the fuel subsidy rationalisation programme.
The Malaysian Insider’s chief executive officer Jahabar Sadiq said in a text message: “My lawyers are handling the issue and have corresponded with Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah.”