CM’s defamation suit over his Merc on hold

GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s defamation suit against an online news portal and its writer over his official car has been moved to Aug 4 pending Federal Court action on a recent ruling that politicians cannot sue the media in their governmental capacities.

Judicial Commissioner Hadhariah Syed Ismail fixed the date in chambers after Lim’s counsel Datuk N. Mureli asked for a stay of proceedings.

Lim is claiming that the now defunct FZ news portal’s article, ‘MACC begins probe on Merc purchase’, was done intentionally and maliciously to damage his name, reputation, and political career.

In his statement of claim filed on Jan 20, 2014, he said the article alleged that he had abused his power by linking the purchase of his Mercedes-Benz S300L with Lowe Motors Sdn Bhd managing director Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled in early March that politicians cannot sue the media for defamation because of articles about their official positions and not as individual persons.

This unanimous ruling was made in Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob’s suit against Utusan Malaysia, based on a point of English common law known as the Derbyshire principle that a public body has no legal standing to mount defamation suits.

Mureli requested the stay pending Adnan’s application of leave to appeal in Federal Court.

Lim is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages and an order to retract the article which is still available online.

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