GEORGE TOWN, June 17 — A witness in former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng’s defamation suit told the High Court here today that it was not his intention to disparage the plaintiff when he issued the statements regarding the purchase of land in Peel Avenue to Island Hospital.
Gerakan acting youth chief Jason Loo said he was only seeking clarity from the DAP-led state government on the transaction which was made without any prior announcement.
“I don’t agree that my statements in three articles that were published by China Press, Guang Ming and Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated May 29, 2015 and June 9, 2017 were false, malicious and aimed at disparaging the plaintiff.
“I was not referring to the plaintiff in my statements, but to the sale of the government land in Peel Avenue by the Penang government,” he said in his testimony.
Guan Eng who is now Finance Minister filed three separate suits related to Loo’s statements at a media conference on May 29, 2007 pertaining to the sale of the land.
He filed the suits in February 2018 separately against Loo for slander, and The China Press Bhd and Guang Ming Ribao for libel.
Loo who is defending himself, as the first witness in the case, said he made the statements after the state government refused to respond to his questions on the sale of the land through Chief Minister Incorporated without open tender.
The witness said the state government only disclosed the deal after it was highlighted by a non-governmental organisation.
“It was justifiable for me as a member of the public to know the truth and my obligation to ensure that the government was answerable to the people for every decision it made,” he said.
The trial continues tomorrow before justice Datuk Rosilah Yop. — Bernama