Malaysia’s veteran striker Mat Yo sues NSTP over defamatory article

Malaysia’s Norshahrul Idlan Talaha reacts after scoring a goal during the AFF Suzuki Cup Group A match between Malaysia and Myammar 2018 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, November 24, 2018. — Picture by Shawan Zaidon
Malaysia’s Norshahrul Idlan Talaha reacts after scoring a goal during the AFF Suzuki Cup Group A match between Malaysia and Myammar 2018 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, November 24, 2018. — Picture by Shawan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — National veteran striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, who is better known as Mat Yo, has filed a lawsuit against The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad, its group editor and writer for allegedly publishing articles defaming him.

Norshahrul, 34, as plaintiff, filed the suit on April 27 through Messrs The Chambers of KK Tan by naming the publishing company, New Straits Times Group Editor Ahmad Lokman Mansor and writer Farah Azharie as the first to third defendants.

According to the court’s list of cases, the case was set for an online e-Review today before Deputy High Court Registrar Farah Shuhada Ramli and subsequently set for case management on July 22.

According to the statement of claim found in an e-filing search by Bernama, Norshahrul said that when his contract with the Pahang Football Association ended on November 30 2019, he hired professional football agent Pro24 Agency to find him a new football team and that Pro24 managed to get an offer from a Thai team, Sukhotai FC, but he rejected it over salary matters.

Norshahrul claimed that Offside Sports Management managing director Abdul Halim Abdul Shukor then contacted him, offering to be his agent, and who then informed him on January 10 of an offer from Bangkok Glass (BG) Pathum United team from Thailand, which the plaintiff agreed to and signed a contract with on January 16.

He claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic, however, resulted in the Thai football league being suspended and BG Phatum Unied officials had called all players to discuss several issues, including wage cuts, and Norshahrul then tried to contact Abdul Halim but it was in vain, resulting in him bringing the matter up with the press.

Norshahrul claimed that on April 11, the defendants published an article titled “Norshahrul’s agent disappears amid pandemic” and, on that same date, Abdul Halim responded on his Facebook page claiming, among other things, that he did not disappear but had to keep mum due to an ongoing case between him, the plaintiff, Pro24, BG Phatum United and the FA of Thailand.

The plaintiff claimed that Abdul Halim’s allegation was untrue and created an impression that there was an ongoing case between the plaintiff and Pro24, and that attracted the attention of the media, especially the defendants. 

Norshahrul claimed that on April 13, the defendants published an article titled “Norshahrul sued by Thai agent”, which contained defamatory statements referring to the plaintiff and which were published online and also circulated on Facebook and Twitter controlled by the defendants.

He claimed that the defamatory article, among others, stated that he was being sued by Pro24, been barred from leaving Thailand until the case was settled although that was never the case, adding that the article’s defamatory headline and content had caused his good name and reputation as a footballer to be tarnished.

He added that the defendants should have sought clarification from him first before publishing the articles, but they had failed to do so and that to date, the defamatory articles had not been withdrawn from the websites controlled by the defendants.

He is seeking damages including exemplary damages, defamation damages, interest, an injunction to prevent all defendants from continuing the publication of articles similar to the defamatory articles, costs and other relief deemed appropriate by the court. — Bernama

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