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Friday November 7, 2008

Court orders website to reveal identities

GEORGE TOWN: An assistant general manager with Chinese newspaper Kwong Wah Yit Poh has succeeded in getting a High Court order to get a Web portal to reveal the identity of members of its forum who had allegedly defamed him on an Internet posting.

Justice Balia Yusof Wahi granted the order in chambers.

He ordered Cari Internet Sdn Bhd to divulge the necessary information on the participants of the forum at chinese.cari.com.my/myforum/forumdisplay in the chinese.cari.com.my website on July 25, 2006, to Neoh Chong Poh, 54.

Neoh, represented by Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, in his affidavit supporting the originating summons, said that besides being Kwong Wah Yit Poh’s assistant general manager, he was also the Penang Chinese Town Hall’s secretary, Penang Press Club chairman, Penang Chingay Association secretary and held other positions in many other organisations.

He said that as a result of the discussion, visitors to the forum had posted unfounded and baseless comments about him.

He said he was among the few with the surname “Neoh’’ who had received the Darjah Johan Negeri (DJN) from the Yang di-Pertua Negri at the time the discussion was held.

“Besides the article, there was also a blurred photograph of me posted at the forum,” he said.

Neoh said the allegation that he was involved in vice activities and was held during a police raid at a pub was meant to tarnish his reputation and image in the society.

He said the posting had affected his reputation and relationship with his family and that he had suffered emotional stress.

Neoh said that despite three letters from his lawyer to Cari Internet to seek the details of the forum members, he was unable to get any positive response from the company.

He said the court order was necessary to enable him to compel the company to reveal the details about the participants so that he could take legal action for defamation.

Cari Internet was not represented by any counsel and neither had the company filed any affidavit-in-reply.

However, its director Liew Chew Keat was present in chambers.

Justice Balia also ordered costs to be paid by the defendant.

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