Guang Ming reporter sues Guan Eng for defamation

Ong Beng Siang (centre) filed a suit against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today, March 17, 2017.
Ong Beng Siang (centre) filed a suit against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today, March 17, 2017.

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GEORGE TOWN, March 17 ― Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has been sued for defamation by a Chinese vernacular newspaper reporter over a Facebook post criticising the latter.

Guang Ming Daily senior journalist Ong Beng Siang filed the lawsuit at the Penang High Court this morning to demand for damages as well as an injunction to stop the Penang lawmaker from making further defamatory statements against him.

In his statement of claim, Ong claimed that Lim had, in the January 22 Facebook post, called him unethical, immoral, unprofessional and accused him of wanting to topple the Penang state government.

The cited post had named Ong personally and further described him as “not fit” to be a reporter, besides containing Lim's demand for an apology.

“He had also accused me of wanting to damage the reputation of the Penang government or to topple it and that my news report was baseless,” Ong said in his claim.

Lim's Facebook post was in response to Ong's news report dated December 23, 2016 on a land issue involving a Chinese school.

Ong is claiming general, exemplary, and aggravated damages with five per cent interest per annum until completion of the suit and any relief deemed fit by the court.

He told reporters at the courthouse that he was compelled to sue Lim in order to clear his name.

“I need to redeem my dignity and that of my fellow media journalists and I am doing this in my personal capacity,” he said.

Baljit Singh, who represented Ong, said a legal notice was sent to Lim's office on March 6 before the suit was filed.

In another event elsewhere, Lim said he is not sure what the case was about, when asked for comment.

“I will let my lawyer, Simon Murali, the same lawyer who handled my suit against Utusan, to handle this case,” he said.

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