High Court awards additional RM500k in damages to The Edge over suspension of publications

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has awarded another half a million in exemplary damages to The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd in addition to a RM11.2mil compensatory damages for loss of revenue due to the three-month suspension of its two publications by the Home Ministry in 2015.

Justice Nordin Hassan made the order here Wednesday (Aug 14) after allowing the publishing firm’s appeal for exemplary damages and awarded it RM500, 000.

In his decision, Justice Nordin said The Edge Communications was a victim of reckless, arbitrary and unconstitutional act of the respondent (Home Ministry).

"This is an exceptional circumstance where the court took into account to grant exemplary damages, " he said.

The court, however, did not allow the publication’s appeal for aggravated and constitutional damages on the grounds that it was inappropriate to be awarded.

At the same time, the court also dismissed the Government’s appeal against the RM11.2mil compensation to the publication with costs of RM15, 000.

Nordin said the claims for compensatory damages by The Edge was for the net cost of the company's primary sources of revenue which were from the sales of the affected publications.

There were also evidence from the company's financial controller and documentary evidence to prove that the computation for the total sum of RM11.2mil was correct and the assumptions made were reasonable, he said.

Nordin said evidence had also shown that the publication of The Edge Weekly due in July 2015 and five other issues of The Edge Financial Daily as well as the advertisements which have already been booked by clients had been cancelled.

"The method of computation of The Edge's financial controller and the sum arrived at is supported by an expert report dated Dec 20, 2017, " he said.

He said that the respondents did not produce any evidence to challenge the method of calculation for the amount claimed.

On Dec 17 last year, the respondents in the appeal - the Home Minister and its secretary-general - were ordered to pay RM11, 260, 350 to The Edge Communications due to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) coverage.

In 2015, the Home Minister suspended the publishing permit of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 27 that year.

The ministry’s decision on the suspension was because the two publications’ reporting of 1MDB were “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest.”


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