Press Statement by the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Lim Guan Eng in George Town on 16.11.2015
The High Court’s decision today which had regrettably dismissed my and Deputy Chief Minister II, YB Prof Ramasamy’s defamation suit against New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad and another (23NCVC-15-12/2013), has left us most appalled.
With the greatest respect to the Judge, this decision marks a new and unprecedented chapter in the defamation laws as applied in Malaysia. Contrary to existing case law, it appears that journalists, wherever they may come from, are now able to write anything and having the same published without the need for prior verification on the facts involved from affected parties.
I cannot see how mere reporting without any need to verify the facts and truth can be construed as responsible journalism. Such absence of restraint will only lead to false and scandalous reporting in complete disregard of the truth. The present legal position is that there must be verification to ensure that there is truthful reporting. As such, to uphold our contention and the present legal position that prior verification of the facts is required.
Bear in mind that if we had known that no prior verification of the facts are required, both Prof Ramasamy and myself would not have filed any defamation suits as there would be no defamation laws in Malaysia. Both the DCM II and I have instructed our solicitors to file the Notice of Appeal against the entire decision.
LIM GUAN ENG