Felda awarded increased damages of RM2mil in suit against Wan Azizah and two others

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has awarded RM2mil in damages to the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and its subsidiary in its suit against PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and two others.

The defamation suit was in relation to two articles published in PKR's newspaper Suara Keadilan seven years ago.

Justice Su Geok Yiam ordered the three respondents – Dr Wan Azizah, Dr Syed Husin Ali and Rusnizam Mahat, the writer of the articles – to pay the RM2mil in general and aggravated damages from the date of judgment until full realisation.

Justice Su made the order after allowing the appeal by Felda and Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd (FGV) against the RM70,000 damages awarded by High Court deputy registrar Norfauzani Mohd Nordin on Feb 13.

Justice Su ruled that she agreed with the appellants' counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun that the damages awarded were extraordinarily low and ought to be increased.

She said the deputy registrar failed to consider the effect of the articles, which caused Felda and FGV to suffer financial losses and its shares to go down considerably.

She also ordered RM25,000 in costs to be paid by the respondents to the appellants.

The appellants were represented by counsels Hafarizam and Nor Emelia Mohd Iszeham while Dr Wan Azizah, former PKR vice president Dr Syed Husin and Rusnizam were represented by Francis Pereira.

Felda and FGV filed the RM200mil defamation suit on Aug 16, 2010 over two news reports published by Suara Keadilan on June 22 and June 29.

On Sept 30, 2014, Suara Keadilan's former editor Dzulkarnain Taib, who was initially named as one of the defendants, tendered an apology to the plaintiffs.

He stated that the articles were erroneous and published by Suara Keadilan to intentionally belittle the plaintiffs and damage their reputation.

On Oct 17, 2014 the High Court ruled in favour of Felda and its subsidiary.

Courts , Felda , FGV , Wan Azizah , Suara Keladilan