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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