PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal ruled Friday that Bintulu Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing could not appeal against a High Court ruling which dismissed his application to compel a reporter to disclose sources in an article he had written.
Justice Datuk Azahar Mohamed, chairing a Court of Appeal three-member panel, said Tiong’s appeal against the July 31, 2013 High Court decision was incompetent because the subject matter was a procedural ruling and not a judgment of the court under Section 67 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.
“For this reason, this appeal filed against the ruling is incompetent and non-appealable,” he said, dismissing Tiong’s appeal.
He then fixed Sept 5 for parties in the case to appear before High Court Judge Lau Bee Lan for case management to set a date to resume the hearing of a defamation suit which Tiong had filed against former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
The panel, which also comprised Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, also ordered Tiong to pay RM10,000 in legal costs to journalist Joseph Sipalan and RM5,000 in costs to Ong.
Following this decision, the ruling by the High Court that Sipalan did not have to disclose the sources for the article was maintained.
Tiong had applied to the High Court to make an order compelling Sipalan to disclose his sources for the article he wrote with the heading, “Chua and Tiong in cahoots” which was published in the New Sunday Times on Sept 6, 2009.
On July 31, 2013, the High Court dismissed Tiong’s application, ruling that Sipalan did not have to disclose his sources.
In her ruling, Justice Lau Bee Lan held that it was in her view that it would be more in the public interest for the court not to order Sipalan to reveal his sources.
In her grounds of judgment, Lau gave six reasons on why the court had decided not to order Sipalan to reveal his sources, and among the reasons was that he had given an undertaking to preserve confidentiality in relation to the sources of information.
Tiong had originally filed the suit on Oct 12, 2009. He named The New Straits Times Press Bhd, its former group editor Datuk Syed Nadzri Syed Harun, Sipalan and Ong as defendants, but later withdrew his claim against NSTP, Syed Nadzri and Sipalan.
Lawyer Bhag Singh appeared for Sipalan, while counsel Chan Tse Yuen represented Ong.
Tiong was represented by counsel Prem Ramachandran. – Bernama