DAP MP, Utusan drop lawsuits after reaching mutual settlement

DAP MP Teresa Kok says that she has agreed to settlements with Utusan Melayu over lawsuits each party filed against the other.— Saw Siow Feng
DAP MP Teresa Kok says that she has agreed to settlements with Utusan Melayu over lawsuits each party filed against the other.— Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — DAP lawmaker Teresa Kok and Umno-owned Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad have withdrawn several defamation lawsuits and counter suits against each other after reaching a mutual settlement.

The Seputeh MP said in a statement the two parties had struck a “mutually agreed global settlement”, which ended with both sides dropping the suits.

“By way of a mutually agreed global settlement that was reached on 22nd November 2013, all parties have agreed to withdraw their respective suits with no order as to cost and with no liberty to re-file.

“Accordingly, I withdrew my suits against Utusan Malaysia and its editor Zaini Hassan which came for hearing at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, 27th November 2013.

“Today, as per the terms of the global settlement, Utusan Malaysia has withdrawn its suit against me (the “dog food” remark) with no order as to cost and with no liberty to refile,” she said.

However, she did not reveal the details of the settlement.

Yesterday, Kok withdrew her two suits against Utusan and Datuk Mohd Zaini Hassan over two articles that were published by the newspaper in 2008.

High Court judge Siti Khadijah S.Hassan Badjenid recorded the settlement after the court was informed that Kok had agreed to withdraw the suits. No reason was given for the withdrawal at the time.

The court allowed Kok to withdraw the suits against Utusan Melayu and Mohd Zaini with no order to cost and no liberty to file afresh.

On October 9, 2008, the 49-year-old filed a suit against Mohd Zaini, who is now Utusan Melayu Assistant Group Editor 1, and Utusan Melayu over an article, with the title “Azan, Jawi, Jais, UiTM dan ba-alif-ba-ya”, which was published by Utusan Malaysia on September 10, 2008.

She claimed the article had portrayed her as a person who could not be trusted, a bad politician, a racist and anti-Islam.

The other suit was over an article, published by the same newspaper on September 8, 2008, on the issue of the “azan” (the Islamic call to prayer by muezzin) at the Kinrara Mosque.

In the suit, Kok had named former Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo and Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad as defendants.

In her statement of claim, Kok stated that on June 26, 2008, Dr Mohamad Khir had quoted from a blog, “pembelamelayu.blogspot”, and made false allegation against her, while Utusan Melayu published the alleged words uttered by Dr Mohamad Khir in an article, “Ada usaha larang azan di masjid Selangor”.

Meanwhile, the newspaper had also filed a suit against Kok in 2008 regarding her “dog food” remark, following her release from now defunct Internal Security Act (ISA) detention in 2008.

She had claimed that the quality of food served to her during her incarceration was so bad that it was similar to dog food, which was reported by Utusan Malaysia. She had initially accused the Malay-language daily of manipulating her words but later admitted to making the remark.

Today, she pointed out that the case involving Dr Mohamad Khir however is still pending, with the court set December 11 for mention for both parties to discuss whether or not to settle the case.

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