KUALA LUMPUR: Felda and its investment company Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd have won their defamation suit against PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and two others.
High Court judge Justice Kamaludin Md Said held that as a statutory body, Felda had the right to sue the parties under Section 15(1) of the Land Development Act 1956.
“There is a statutory provision for the plaintiff (Felda) on the right to sue. Therefore, Felda can institute civil proceedings (against the defendants). It can sue to protect its reputation,” he said after dismissing the preliminary issue raised in the matter.
Justice Kamaludin said Felda was entitled to enter judgment on liability in the civil dispute.
“Only Parliament and not the court can take away those rights (to sue),” he said.
Justice Kamaludin ordered a senior assistant registrar to assess costs and aggravated and exemplary damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs over libel and malicious falsehood.
He also granted an injunction to restrain the defendants from repeating the defamatory words.
“Apology is not allowed,” he said.
Lead counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin and lawyer Cheng Mai represented Felda.
The defendants’ lead counsel Francis Pereira said his clients admitted liability on Sept 30 over two defamatory articles.
Felda sued Dr Wan Azizah, her then deputy Dr Syed Husin Ali and four others for RM200mil on Aug 16, 2010, over their claims that it was bankrupt.
In the defamation claim, Felda and Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd sued six defendants for false allegations over the purchase of a Felda building.
Suara Keadilan publisher Pelita Koridor Sdn Bhd, its printer Percetakan NPK Sdn Bhd, its editor Dzulkarnain Taib and writer Rusnizam Mahat were the other four defendants.
Felda obtained a judgment-in-default-of-appearance in the suit against Suara Keadilan’s publisher and printer on Oct 26, 2010.
Dzulkarnain apologised to Felda on Sept 30 and undertook to refrain from making any further allegations against Felda.
Felda contended that it sued PKR as the party was responsible for the publication of the monthly newspaper Suara Keadilan that carried two allegedly defamatory articles in its June 22-29, 2010 edition.
In its statement of claim, Felda said the first defamatory article was titled “Felda Bangkrap (Felda is Bankrupt)” while the second was “Bina Bangunan RM662 juta hanya libatkan tiga individu (The construction of the RM662mil building involves only three individuals)”.
Felda said the words in the first article implied that it was insolvent, unable to pay its debts and not creditworthy while the words in the second article meant that the acquisition and construction of the building in the Golden Triangle was to benefit cronies, did not comply with the law and that the transaction resulted in losses.
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