KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Berjaya Corporation Berhad (BCorp) founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Berjaya Land Berhad (Berjaya Land) are demanding a public apology and RM200 million in compensation for defamation from caretaker Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.

Sanusi had made the defamatory and untrue remarks against both Tan and Berjaya Land on August 2 at a Perikatan Nasional (PN) event relating to the Selangor Maritime Gateway (SMG) Project, Berjaya Land said in a statement.

The statement included seven excerpts plucked from a speech Sanusi had made at the event called “Jelajah Mega PN Best”/”PN BEST Sayangi Kedah Sejahtera mega tour”, alleging that Tan was caretaker Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari’s “tauke” or boss.

“The abovementioned allegations have been categorically denied by Berjaya Land and a point-by-point rebuttal has been issued via a press release by Berjaya Land on August 4, 2023 to correct the false and misleading statements made by Sanusi,” it said.

Lawyers representing Tan and Berjaya Land served a letter of demand to Sanusi on August 5 with five demands for the PN election director.

The demands to Sanusi include: removing and retracting all defamatory statements referring to Tan and Berjaya Land, a public apology to be published on any platform determined by the lawyers, the provision of a written undertaking by Sanusi to affirm that he will not repeat or publish such statements any further, another written undertaking that Sanusi will cease and desist from sharing any such statements in any manner, and an agreement to pay compensation of RM200 million to Tan and Berjaya Land.

Failure to comply with the demands by the end of the business day tomorrow will lead to legal action, the statement warned.

Besides that, Tan and Berjaya Land have lodged police reports against Sanusi and bloggers such as Murray Hunter, Badrul Hisham Shaharin (also known as Chegubard) and Raja Petra Kamarudin regarding similar statements made on the SMG Project under Section 499 of the Penal Code, which governs criminal defamation.

The Section criminalises any speech or publication including words that intend, or have reason to believe would cause, harm to the reputation of a person. Conviction may be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to two years or a fine, or both.

Tan said: “These defamatory statements has tarnished my and Berjaya Land’s integrity, credit, reputation and image. These accusations have cast doubt and raised unwarranted suspicions over our legitimate business endeavours and philanthropic activities.

“We want to send a strong message that anyone making false and damaging statements about us will not be tolerated and we shall hold them accountable for their actions.”