GEORGE TOWN, Feb 27 – Penang Citizens Awareness Chant Group (Chant) adviser Lim Cheok Siang, also known as Jimmy Lim, told the High Court here Friday that he had no malice or bad intent against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng when he called for a press conference on Dec 6, 2013.
Jimmy said the purpose of the press conference was to highlight the issue surrounding the heritage of Penang. In a witness statement tendered in court today Jimmy, 71, also said he had never intended to defame Guan Eng or tarnish the chief minister’s image in his statement.
“I do not have any personal or political agenda. I only have the interests of Penang, its heritage and historical, value at heart and to ensure Penang does not lose its United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) heritage status,” he said.
Meanwhile, questioned by his lawyer, Baljit Singh, about Lim saying that Kampung Buah Pala still existed, Jimmy said the village had been demolished. “How can it still exist? Is he (Guan Eng) referring to the signboard? “The people, the kampung, the cows, the houses, traditions, culture and heritage are all gone. What you have at the site now is a high rise condominium,” he added.
Jimmy was testifying in the hearing of defamation suit filed by Lim against him, Mtoday News Sdn Bhd (second defendant) and journalist S. Karunakara, also known as Athi Shankar (third defendant) over an article on Free Malaysia Today website on Dec 6, 2013.
Lim filed the suit in January last year, claiming that Jimmy made a statement at a press conference on Dec 6, 2013, which was misleading and malicious, and defamatory to him. In the 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”.
He claimed that the article 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 April 16 and 17.