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Published: Wednesday January 4, 2012 MYT 1:48:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday January 4, 2012 MYT 4:17:28 PM

Taib withdraws defamation suit against Malaysiakini

KUALA LUMPUR: Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has withdrawn his defamation suit against MKini Dotcom Sdn Bhd and its editor-in-chief Gan Diong Keng, following an apology in court.

High Court judge Justice Rosilah Yop allowed for the matter to be withdrawn after counsel from both parties read their statements in open court Wednesday, with no order as to cost or damages.

The defendant's statement, read by their counsel Fahri Azzat, said they acknowledged that the 12 articles regarding Abdul Taib dated between April 6 and May 3, 2007, had been “erroneously published”.

The articles implied that Abdul Taib had been involved in receiving kickbacks for timber extracted from the state.

In his statement, Gan (also known as Steven Gan), said that MKini (publisher of online news portal Malaysiakini) had published those articles based solely on news reports in several Japanese media that was published at the material time.

“We understand that the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau has since reversed its decision on this issue, which renders the imputation of kickbacks to be wholly unfounded and so without basis.

“We acknowledge that the articles caused the plaintiff embarrassment, distress and injury to his reputation and apologise for any inconvenience caused to him as a result,” he said.

He added that in keeping with the apology, Malaysiakini would publish that the Tokyo Regional Taxation bureau had subsequently ruled that the sum paid by the Japanese Shipping Companies had been legitimate.

He also said that “no such imputation had been purposely intended”, and that the articles had been published merely to keep Malaysians abreast of news reports.

“We regret any such unintended insinuations and agree to refrain from publishing any further news reports or statements about the plaintiff in relation to the issue of kickbacks involving the Japanese shipping companies, paid to an off-shore Hong Kong company known as Regent Star,” he said.

After the statement was read out, Abdul Taib's counsel, Robert Lazar, applied to the court to withdraw the suit, which was filed on May 15, 2007.

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