PUTRAJAYA, May 25 – The Court of Appeal today upheld an order for Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd to pay RM200,000 in damages to former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in a defamation suit. A three-man panel led by Justice Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham dismissed Utusan’s appeal against the RM200,000 quantum awarded to Anwar by the High Court on Oct 19, 2015 after he won his libel suit against the newspaper publisher.
Justice Dr Prasad Sandosham who sat with Justices Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Asmabi Mohamad also ordered Utusan to pay five percent interest to Anwar from the date of the decision on Oct 19, last year. The panel held that there was no error by the High Court judge when awarding Anwar such amount and ordered Utusan Melayu to pay RM5,000 costs to Anwar, who was present in court Wednesday.
Anwar, 69, sued Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak alleging that the defendants had published two libellous articles against him on the front page and page 10 of the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, dated Jan 17, 2012, in relation to his BBC interview.
Anwar won his claim against Utusan and Datuk Abdul Aziz who were subsequently ordered by the High Court to pay him RM100,000 in general damages and another RM100,000 in aggravated damages. He is currently serving five years at the Sungai Buloh prison after the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015 upheld his conviction and sentence for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Earlier, Utusan Melayu’s lawyer Wan Azmir Wan Majid submitted that the High Court judge had failed to consider Anwar’s previous conviction for sodomy and corruption when assessing the quantum of damages. Anwar’s lawyer Latheefa Koya replied that the High Court judge did take his client’s previous conviction into account when awarding the amount.