Guan Eng settles lawsuit against Utusan after paper says sorry

By Opalyn Mok
Lim said the smart card will make it easier for the state government to streamline management and disbursement of financial aid for its welfare programmes. ― Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 15 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has settled his defamation suit against Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad after the Umno-owned newspaper agreed to apologise today.

Both Lim and Utusan agreed to a consent judgment in which the Malay daily said it will issue an apology in open court, publish the apology and pay an undisclosed sum in compensation to Lim.

Utusan's legal executive Norzulaikah Ibrahim read out the apology for the article published on August 20, 2015 titled “Guan Eng tarik balik saman terhadap Ketua Pemuda Umno Negeri” [Guan Eng dropped suit against State Umno Youth Chief].

“The article was supposed to read as 'Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng menarik balik saman yang difailkan tiga tahun lalu terhadap bekas Ketua Pemuda Umno Negeri, Datuk Dr Shaik Hussein Mydin setelah Shaik Hussein menarik balik tanpa sebarang syarat dan dengan penuh kerelaan hati dakwaan rasuah yang dibuat olehnya terhadap Lim Guan Eng pada 5 Oktober 2012.'

[Translation: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng withdrew the suit filed three years ago against the former State Umno Youth Chief, Datuk Dr Shaik Hussein Mydin after Shaik Hussein agreed to willingly and unconditionally withdraw his allegations of corruptions against Lim Guan Eng on October 5, 2012.]

“We apologise to Lim Guan Eng for any distress caused by the confusion and erroneous facts on our side in publishing the original article,” she read out in court before Judicial Commissioner Azmi Abdullah.

The news report was referring to Lim's other defamation suit against Shaik Hussein that was also settled through a consent judgment after the latter retracted his corruption allegations against the DAP secretary-general.

Lim's counsel, Simon Murali, told reporters outside the courtroom that Utusan will publish its apology on the second page of the newspaper within seven days from March 16.

Lim, who was also present, said he had to file the suit because of Utusan's wrongful report and added that he is glad it is over.

“I got back some justice today,” he said.