Suing is only way to hold media accountable, says Guan Eng

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng arrived at the Penang High Court for the case, November 14, 2016. — Picture by KE Ooi
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng arrived at the Penang High Court for the case, November 14, 2016. — Picture by KE Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, Nov 14 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today he was forced to sue some media outlets to make sure they publish the “right reports”.

The DAP secretary-general also alleged that some publications regularly maligned him.

“Sometimes I am left with no choice. Suing the media is the only way to get them to print the right reports,” he told reporters outside the High Court today.

Lim earlier testified in yet another of his defamation lawsuits, this one against Berita Harian.

The suit was over an article stemming from a previous defamation lawsuit that the two had settled.

“The newspaper had in the second paragraph of its article alluded that I had withdrawn the other defamation suit unconditionally when this was not true,” he told the court.

Lim sued News Straits Times Publications Sdn Bhd (NSTP), as the publisher of Berita Harian, seeking a mandatory injunction to compel the newspaper to publish an apology and pay damages.

In his suit, he claimed the Berita Harian article on the settlement of his defamation suit against Datuk Dr Shaik Hussain Mydin was defamatory.

Lim said he had discontinued the suit against Shaik Hussain after the latter apologised in chambers and retracted his statement against Lim.

He contended that the article published in Berita Harian on August 20 last year had left out Shaik Hussain’s apology, claiming it was published with malicious intent to defame him.

Lim said he had discontinued the suit against Shaik Hussain after the latter apologised in chambers and retracted his corruption allegations against Lim.

He contended that the article published in Berita Harian on August 20 last year had left out Shaik Hussain’s apology and the fact that the latter had retracted his allegations, claiming it was published with malicious intent to defame him.

In its statement of defence, NSTP had denied that the article was defamatory against Lim.

During trial today, it was also heard that NSTP offered to publish an errata, which it subsequently did on December 18 last year.

Lim told the court, however, that the published errata differed from what was discussed.

“It was clear that the defendant has no intention to publish and apology and the errata was written without any apology in it,” he said in his witness statement.

Later, the author of the article, Siti Sofia Md Nasir, said had no ill intent when writing the report.

She also admitted that she did not attend the court hearing of the case, but had interviewed both Lim and Shaik Hussain for the article.

High Court judge Datuk Rosilah Yop fixed December 23 for written submissions of the suit and January 13 next year for decision.

Simon Murali represented Lim while Leong Wai Hong represented NSTP.

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