Court advises Khalid Samad, Free Malaysia Today to settle defamation suit amicably

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad is pictured during the second meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad is pictured during the second meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The High Court here today advised that the defamation suit filed by former Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad against online news portal, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) and its former editor-in-chief, be settled amicably.

The suit was over a defamatory article involving the post of the 8th prime minister between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Lawyer Mohamed Ashmeer Mohamed Ashrof, representing Khalid, told reporters that the court had urged both parties to have a discussion in finding a solution to the case.

“If no solution is reached, the court has set two days from July 1 next year for the hearing,” he said after the matter was brought up in the chambers of Judge Datin Rohani Ismail, adding that the court had also fixed December 10 for case management.

On June 23, the Amanah strategic communications director who is the plaintiff, filed the suit naming Abdar Rahman Koya and FMT Media Sdn Bhd as the first and second defendants.

In his statement of claim, Khalid who is also Shah Alam MP claimed that on February 26, both defendants had published an article entitled “Khalid presses on, tell Dr M to make way for Anwar” on the news portal after referring to the plaintiff’s Twitter post on the same day.

Khalid claimed that the defendants had translated his Twitter post in English using their own words, without obtaining any confirmation from the plaintiff and the libellous article could be accessed via the news portal.

Khalid further claimed that the article among others, meant that the plaintiff had demanded for Dr Mahathir’s resignation from his post as prime minister or interim prime minister and was rude and disrespectful towards an experienced and high-ranking political figure.

He also alleged that although the defendants had published a statement apologising to the plaintiff, it was not made public and the first defendant (Abdar) had mocked the plaintiff and insisted that the Twitter post was apt.

As such the plaintiff is seeking general, compensatory, aggravated and exemplary damages, costs and an injunction to stop the defendants from publishing the article further, in addition to an order requesting both defendants to issue a statement of apology in the terms agreed by the plaintiff. — Bernama

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