Lim demands RM20mil damages from Raja Petra

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) is demanding general damages of RM20mil in his suit against blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin over a series of articles on the RM6.3bil Penang Undersea Tunnel project.

Lim, 61, the plaintiff said, a total of 20 articles were published in both English and Malay by the Malaysia Today portal, belonging to Raja Petra, since February 2019.

"I am demanding RM1mil in damages for each article. The series of articles have been shared by Internet users and they have still not been removed by the defendant," he said in his testimony in the hearing to assess the quantum of damages before High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohd Arief Emran Arifin on Wednesday (April 14).

Lim said at the time the articles were published, he held the position of finance minister and the allegations of corruption were specifically aimed at him as Penang chief minister.

"My good name and reputation have been severely tarnished and the defendant stated that his source was the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). This has damaged my credibility and character," said Lim, who also sought for aggravated and exemplary damages amounting to RM500,000 respectively.

Meanwhile, Lim's lawyer Simon Murali, in his submission said, Malaysia Today is a free online portal which could be accessed by anyone and every article published could be shared by readers.

"There is no doubt that the dissemination of publications via the Internet is able reach people all over the world.

"Moreover, these defamatory statements were targeted at the then-finance minister. The articles disseminated over a one-month period were published in series. As such, the general damages claim of RM1mil for each article is reasonable," said the lawyer.

The court then set April 26 for the plaintiff to file additional submissions and the decision on the quantum of damages to be awarded was fixed to be delivered via Zoom on May 25.

On Feb 28 last year, Lim obtained a default judgment against Raja Petra after the blogger did not contest the suit.

Lim filed the suit on Sept 6, 2019, over a series of "From the MACC Files" articles, in both English and Bahasa Malaysia versions, carried on Raja Petra's online news portal, 'Malaysia Today, between Feb 24 to March 15, 2019.

The purported defamatory articles about the MACC's investigation into the issue of alleged corruption in the infrastructure project.

The DAP secretary-general filed an application for a judgment in default after Raja Petra failed to respond to the notice of the suit that Lim placed in three newspapers on Feb 10, 2020.

Lim had also attempted to serve the writ and statement of claim to Raja Petra by personal service at the blogger's last known address which was obtained from the National Registration Department and the Election Commission, but was unsuccessful. – Bernama

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