Can public authorities sue for defamation? — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) recently threatened to take action against the chief minister of Penang. It complained that he had defamed the institution by alleging that it was wrong to charge a state minister.

MACC is a public institution carrying out public functions. Its head is appointed by the King on the advice of the prime minister – which essentially means the government. He holds office at the pleasure of the King – which under our constitutional structure again means the government via the prime minister.

This raises an interesting question. Can a public institution sue for defamation when it is criticised, however harshly?

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Court dismisses Eric Paulsen’s suit against Muslim activist

Source: FMT News

Eric Paulsen- pic drawn from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen’s defamation suit against a Muslim activist on claims that he is an “instigator”.

Justice Zaki Abdul Wahad said the lawyer had proved his case against Pembela activist Mohamed Hafiz Mohamed Nordin as the statement referred to him.

“However, he failed to show that the statement uttered by Hafiz had lowered his reputation in society and that it caused the public to look                                                                                        down on him,” he said in his short oral judgment.

At the same time, the court also rejected Hafiz’s defence of fair comment and justification on the lawsuit, saying if Paulsen had proven his reputation was indeed tarnished, the court may award him damages. Read more

Public’s right to know and defamation — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

MINISTERS, officials and elected representatives routinely make comments. These are reported by the media and attract all kinds of comments, some adverse. As happened recently, when a lawmaker suggested a solution for rape of underage victims. Journalists and editors are often threatened with a lawsuit. This may discourage the paper from reporting; which ultimately thwarts the right of the public to know.

When can a newspaper report a speech or statement – which may be defamatory – and yet successfully fend off any threat of a lawsuit?

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Court will hear Pua’s bid to strike out Najib suit on April 3

Source: FMT News

The Petaling Jaya MP maintains that as public official, Prime Minister Najib Razak has no legal standing to bring an action on a public interest issue.

The Petaling Jaya MP maintains that as public official, Prime Minister Najib Razak has no legal standing to bring an action on a public interest issue.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will hear on April 3 an application by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua to strike out Prime Minister Najib Razak’s defamation suit over remarks the DAP lawmaker had allegedly made on the 1MDB issue.

Pua’s lawyer Aliff Benjamin Suhaimi said judicial commissioner Roslan Abu Bakar has also fixed three days from Sept 18 to hear the merits of the suit.

“Our case is that as a public official, Najib has no locus to bring the suit against our client on a public interest issue,” Benjamin told reporters after the case management before the judge in chambers. Lawyer Nor Azira Abu Haiyan appeared for Najib.

 

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