KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has awarded RM600,000 in damages to former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, who obtained a judgment in default (JID) against blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin over articles alleging corruption in an undersea tunnel project by the state government.
Lawyer Simon Murali, who represented Lim, said Judicial Commissioner Mohd Arief Emran Arifin awarded the amount in general and aggravated damages during an online proceeding on Tuesday (May 25).
The court ordered Raja Petra to pay Lim RM10,000 in costs, as well as 5% interest per annum, to be calculated from the date of the filing of the suit (Sept 6,2019) until full settlement.
On Sept 6,2019, Lim filed the defamation suit for damages, a front-page apology, and an injunction to prevent Raja Petra from repeating his allegations, which were contained in a series of articles entitled "From the MACC Files".
The contentious articles were published on Raja Petra's Malaysia Today website in February and March 2019.
Raja Petra alleged that there had been "criminal collaboration" between the Attorney General's Chambers, the MACC and Pakatan Harapan leaders to cover up corruption involving the Penang undersea tunnel.
He further alleged that bribes had been paid to Lim and other Pakatan leaders.
In a statement of claim, Lim sought exemplary damages on the grounds that Raja Petra had profited from a huge volume of readership on all the articles.
The former finance minister attempted to serve the writ and statement of claim to Raja Petra by personal service at his last known address obtained from the National Registration Department and the Election Commission.
Lim applied to the court for a substitute service where he placed a notice of the suit in three newspapers after an unsuccessful attempt to serve Raja Petra.
The blogger failed to respond to the notice to contest the suit.
Lim subsequently filed for the JID, which he obtained on Feb 28, last year.