GEORGE TOWN, Jan 20 – Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told the High Court here today that he was unaware of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s pledge to “save Kampung Buah Pala”. “I am not aware of it,” said Lim when cross-examined by counsel Baljit Singh, who was representing Penang Citizens Awareness Chant Group (Chant) adviser Jimmy Lim Cheok Siang.
Lim who is DAP secretary-general also said he never knew that Anwar had made a pledge to the residents prior to the 2008 general election. To another question whether Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer and Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy had promised to Kampung Buah Pala residents that they could stay in the area perpetually, Lim said he was not aware of it.
Lim was testifying in his defamation trial against Jimmy, Mtoday News Sdn Bhd (second defendant) and journalist Athi Shankar (third defendant). Meanwhile Lim stressed that only George Town had been recognized as a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
“The article was written without seeking my comment and clarification, and intended to defame me as chief minister and also as an individual,” he said. In January last year, Lim filed the suit claiming that the first defendant made a statement in a press conference on Dec 6, 2013, which was misleading and malicious, and defamatory to him.
In his statement of claim, he alleged that Mtoday News Sdn Bhd and Athi Shankar had deliberately, erroneously and with malicious intent caused the publication of an article, “Guan Eng has failed, says NGO”. The plaintiff claimed that the article which appeared in the Free Malaysia Today website the same day, had portrayed him as a chief minister without calibre for trying to destroy the world heritage status accorded to Penang.
Lim also alleged that the article had also portrayed him as a leader or individual who had no regard for the wellbeing of the local Indian community by allowing the destruction of Kampung Buah Pala. He is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages, and an order compelling the defendants to withdraw the article and an apology from them, aside from interest, cost and other relief deemed fit by the court. The hearing before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan has been adjourned to Feb 27.