Court Strikes Out Penang Umno Leaders’ Suit Against Lim Over Land

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 – The High Court has struck out a suit filed by two Penang UMNO division chiefs and a housing developer against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and four other parties on the sale of a piece of Malay-owned land in Balik Pulau.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar revoked the order after receiving a notice of termination from a counsel from Tetuan Abu Bakar As-Sidek on April 1, not to proceed with the suit against the defendants. Abu Bakar was representing Bukit Mertajam Umno division chief Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir and Bukit Gelugor Umno division head Datuk Omar Faudzar, as well as Maison Height Sdn Bhd as plaintiffs.

On Jan 30, last year, the plaintiffs filed the suit against Lim; TMI Dot Com Sdn Bhd as owner of news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI); former TMI editor Jahabar Sadiq; Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd as owner of news portal Malaysiakini; and, editor Steven Gan as defendants in the suit.

In their statement of claims, the plaintiffs accused Lim of being responsible for three articles with elements of slander published by TMI and Malaysiakini, respectively, on Nov 27 and Nov 28, 2014. The plaintiffs alleged the three articles implied that Maison Height was a company which transacted the sale and purchase of a piece of land in Balik Pulau to reap profits from the proceeds of the sale.

They also claimed the article meant Musa and Omar had betrayed the Malays and deliberately misled the public and were unreliable and subsequently, the plaintiffs were severely criticised in social media and mass media, following the publication of the defamatory words. The plaintiffs sought general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages as well as an injunction to restrain the defendants from publishing the article orally or through printed media and the Internet.

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