SHAH ALAM: The High Court here has awarded RM350,000 in damages to former MCA secretary-general Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (pic) after she won a defamation suit against former Damansara MP Tony Pua and newly elected Puchong MP Yeo Bee Yin.
Justice Roslan Abu Bakar ordered Pua to pay RM200,000 and Yeo to pay RM150,000 to Chew in general and aggravated damages. The court also granted Chew RM50,000 in costs to be paid by the defendants.
In an immediate response, Chew said she felt vindicated and that it was important to set the record straight.
Pua and Yeo were found to have defamed Chew in three articles that were published in The Malay Mail, Free Malaysia Today and Nanyang Siang Pau in 2017.
Both defendants had alleged that Chew had approved the sale of a piece of land to Selangor MCA below the market value when she sat in the district land committee.
Yeo also made a statement in a Facebook video where she claimed the land was used for dragon fruit farming, but the court has found this to be untrue.
In delivering his decision, Justice Roslan said the articles had implied that the plaintiff had used her position and influence in the committee to enable the acquisition of the said land by MCA below the market price and placed herself in a position of conflict of interest, among others.
However, he said the court found that the plaintiff was never a member of the committee as alleged by the defendants.
“I am satisfied that the plaintiff had successfully proved all the four impugned statements were defamatory of her (Chew),” he said.
Justice Roslan also said the defendants did not verify with the relevant authorities or documents whether the plaintiff was actually a member of the committee.
“As such, the defence of justification must fail.
“I am also of the view that the defence of Reynold’s Privilege must also fail as there was no evidence to show that the defendants had taken steps to gather, verify and publish the information was fair and responsible,” he said.