PSM’s Dr Jeyakumar sued for defamation over farmers’ eviction issue

KUALA LUMPUR: The Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) has filed a lawsuit against Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj for defamation.

It was over a statement he allegedly made at a press conference regarding the eviction of a group of farmers from an agricultural area in Kanthan, Ipoh last year.

PKNP filed the suit through the law firm of MahWengKwai & Associates at the High Court here on Jan 31.

Based on PKNP’s statement of claim, which was obtained by the media, Dr Jeyakumar had called for a press conference on Nov 1, 2023, and a video of the press conference was published on the same day on Facebook with the account name “Parti Sosialis Malaysia,” TikTok with the username “partisocialis,” the Instagram account of “Parti Sosialis Malaysia” and the X (formerly Twitter) account of @partisosialis.

PKNP claimed that the alleged defamatory statements meant that it had violated an interim stay issued by the court, had no integrity, and operated above the law.

According to PKNP, a group of farmers had filed a judicial review application at the Ipoh High Court on Oct 24, 2023, seeking an order to stop their eviction and the court granted them an interim stay pending the disposal of the judicial review application.

PKNP said the farmers then filed an ex-parte application at the Ipoh High Court on Nov 6 last year for leave to initiate a committal proceeding against the corporation for not complying with the stay order.

It said the application by the farmers was dismissed by the High Court on Jan 4 this year and the court also ruled that PKNP did not violate the terms of the interim stay order.

The plaintiff claimed that the defamatory statement by the defendant could result, among others, in potential investors, business partners and the people of Perak losing confidence in PKNP, resulting in PKNP losing its competitive edge compared with other companies in Perak.

Accordingly, it is seeking general aggravated and exemplary damages as well as an order for the defendant and PSM to remove the alleged defamation statements and make an apology to the plaintiff on all social media platforms.

PKNP also applied for an injunction for the defendant to remove all videos of the press conference on social media and an order to prevent Dr Jeyakumar and PSM from repeating, publishing or causing the publication of the same statement. — Bernama

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