GEORGE TOWN, Sept 19 ― New Straits Times (NST) was ordered to pay RM130,000 in damages and costs to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in a consent judgement at the High Court here today.
The local English-language newspaper was also ordered by Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail to publish an unconditional apology in its Sunday edition, New Sunday Times.
“The defendant is ordered to fulfil both terms in this consent judgment within 14 days from today,” she said in the judgment.
NST will have to publish an unconditional and unreserved apology in reference to two articles titled “Come clean on payments, Penang urged” and “Penang BN claims CM lied over 4 issues” published on January 17 and January 19 respectively.
The newspaper is also required to admit that the articles contained statements that were defamatory to Lim who was Penang chief minister at that time.
Lim had filed a defamation suit against NST over the articles that was written based on statements issued by the then Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow.
In his suit, Lim claimed NST had portrayed him in the articles as having lied to the public about the undersea tunnel project, misled the public on matters of public expenditure, abused his position as the then chief minister, that he is a schemer and manipulator, a habitual liar, lacked good character and dignity and lacked credibility, integrity and respect.
He further claimed that NST had failed to exercise the requisite standard of professionalism in publishing the articles and had failed to take reasonable steps to verify the truthfulness of the statements issued by Teng.
Lim also claimed that NST did not give him reasonable opportunity to reply the allegations made in the articles and failed to print his explanations on the subject.
He was claiming for general damages including aggravated damages and exemplary damages, costs and other reliefs deemed appropriate by the court.
Lim was represented by lawyer Simon Murali who appeared in court for the consent judgment today and mentioned the case for NST which was represented by solicitors from Suflan TH Liew and Partners.