KUALA LUMPUR: A High Court here ordered Perkasa, New Straits Times and Utusan Melayu to pay Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) RM550,000 in damages pertaining to an article over a dinner which Lim attended in Singapore in 2011.
Justice Nor Bee Ariffin awarded Lim general and aggravated damages after Lim succeeded in proving the three elements - article was defamatory, it was referred to him and the media statement on his visit to Singapore was transmitted to the third party.
She ruled that there were no justification or fair comment and qualified priviledge in the defendants' defence.
She ordered Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali, information chief Ruslan Kassim and Perkasa to pay RM150,000; NST former group editor Datuk Syed Nazri Syed Harun and NSTP RM200,000 and Utusan Melayu group editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak and Utusan Melayu RM200,000.
She also instructed the defendants to pay a total of RM60,000 in cost.
Justice Nor Bee said that Syed Nazri, NSTP, Abdul Aziz and Utusan Melayu failed to pratice responsible journalism.
Lim filed the suit on May 11, 2012.
He claimed that Ruslan had published a statement on Perkasa's website on Oct 1, 2011 asking businessman Datuk Mohamad Azman Yahya to explain his meeting with Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan and a PAP senior leader in Singapore on Aug 12, 2011.
Lim, who is DAP secretary-general, claimed that the statement implied that he was endangering national security by exposing the country's secrets to Singapore.
He sought general, exemplary and special damages for RM15mil as well as interest, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.
The Bagan MP sought for an apology on the front pages of the NST and Utusan and a promise by the dailies that they would not repeat the alleged defamatory statements.
When met by reporters after the adjournment, Ruslan said that he would file an appeal against the verdict.