Local Sabah daily fails to strike out Ismail Sabri’s libel suit

Ismail Sabri had filed the suit against the Sabah-based newspaper over articles published in 2015 on a controversy surrounding turtle egg dishes at an Umno function in Sabah which he had attended. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Ismail Sabri had filed the suit against the Sabah-based newspaper over articles published in 2015 on a controversy surrounding turtle egg dishes at an Umno function in Sabah which he had attended. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Sabah newspaper Daily Express failed today to strike out an RM10 million defamation suit by Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan said the suit could be heard in Kuala Lumpur as the article in question was also published on the paper’s website and was accessible in peninsular Malaysia.

According to a report on Malaysiakini, Nordin also ordered the defendants — newspaper owner Sabah Publishing House and newspaper editor James Sarda — to pay RM3,000 for cost.

Ismail Sabri had filed the suit against the Sabah-based newspaper over articles published between January 24 and September 9 in 2015 on a controversy surrounding turtle egg dishes at an Umno function in Sabah which he had attended.

He claimed the articles suggested he was evading responsibility, had no respect for the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1967 and showed disregard for the investigation process.

He said that the newspaper continued to publish the articles without seeking his comment or views.

Sabah Publishing House, in its defence filed in May, claimed they were factually accurate and denied that it acted in bad faith against the minister.

It further denied that it published the articles without seeking Ismail’s comments and that the reports were without verification from the government departments.

Case management has been fixed for October 24.

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