Sunday, December 18, 2011
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today he is planning to sue the New Straits Times (NST) over claims that he had leaked national secrets after the newspaper omitted him from an apology to two other personalities over an article it admitted was without any foundation or basis.
The NST, Berita Minggu and Mingguan Malaysia apologised to Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan on October 23 for alleging that he had leaked state secrets at a dinner with leaders of Singapore’s ruling PAP party.
All three acknowledged that the claim, made by Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim, was without any foundation or basis.
The weekend papers also promised not to publish further allegations of this nature involving the ECM Libra Financial Group Bhd chairman without prior verification.
On October 2, the NST, Berita Minggu and Mingguan Malaysia, quoting Ruslan, alleged that Kalimullah had leaked national secrets during the dinner in Singapore.
The next day Lim publicly demanded an apology from the NST and Mingguan Malaysia for also alleging that he had leaked national secrets at the same dinner.
The English daily reported that Perkasa had claimed that there was a dinner arranged for three Malaysian personalities, including the Penang chief minister, and top Singapore politicians in August.
Ruslan had questioned the motive behind the dinner that was allegedly attended by Malaysia Airlines board member Datuk Mohamad Azman Yahya, businessman Kalimullah and Lim with PAP leaders.
“The weird thing is that the paper apologised to Datuk Seri Kalimullah and Datuk Azman over this false report, but it didn’t want to apologise to me. This shows how NST has ill intentions and I will ask my lawyer to take legal action,” Lim told reporters at the Penang Skills Development Centre today.
Lim had denied the report was true and had demanded that the NST fully retract its claims, apologise and pay damages, threatening a lawsuit if the paper failed to do so.
“They are evil and have ill intentions to ruin my reputation for political reasons, because it is controlled by Umno,” Lim said today.
The NST published a story a week after the initial report on October 9, saying that Ruslan had apologised to Mohamad Azman over a statement he had made about the dinner.
The apology was issued in the form of a statement on October 6 and published by Utusan Malaysia.
Following that came the apology to Kalimullah by the NST, Berita Minggu and Mingguan Malaysia on October 23.
Lim’s decision to sue comes on the heels of the Penang High Court’s ruling on Wednesday, which found Utusan Malaysia guilty of making “malicious”, defamatory and untruthful statements against him. The widely read Malay daily was ordered to pay RM200,00 in damages and RM25,000 in costs.
The Bagan MP and Air Putih assemblyman had filed a suit against Utusan for publishing allegedly defamatory words in an article titled “Kebiadapan Guan Eng”.
In his statement of claim, the Penang chief minister said the words used, among others, were meant to portray him as a racist who objected to anything related to Malays.