KUALA LUMPUR: Nine words in an article published by PKR newspaper Suara Keadilan on Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir were libellous, the High Court here ruled Wednesday.
Judge Datuk Hue Siew Kheng made the decision in chambers in the presence of lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin representing Zambry as the plaintiff and lawyer Jamie Wong representing PKR, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and three others as the defendants.
On Nov 22 last year, the High Court ruled that three other words in the same article were libellous after the defendants admitted that the words were false and unfounded.
Firoz Hussein, when met by reporters, said the court ruled that the assessment of compensation be made before the deputy registrar but no date had been fixed.
On Feb 25 last year, Dr Zambry filed a RM100mil suit, naming Dr Wan Azizah as an office-bearer of PKR, deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali who was also the chief editor of Suara Keadilan, the newspaper publisher Pelita Koridor Sdn Bhd and the printer, Percetakan NPK Sdn Bhd, as defendants.
In his statement of claim, Dr Zambry said the article published in the Dec 29, 2009-Jan 5, 2010 edition of Suara Keadilan titled “Zambry Disyaki Pengganas – Gagal masuk ke Amerika Syarikat” (Zambry Suspected of Being Terrorist – Fails to Enter the United States of America) contained false, libellous and unfounded words and were published with malicious intent.
He stressed that he was not denied entry into the US but was in fact, allowed to enter the country and was accorded recognition that was appropriate with his position as the Mentri Besar of Perak.
Dr Zambry said his visit to the US received wide coverage and the defendants had deliberately published the words with the intention to defame him.
The Perak Mentri Besar said the libellous words had hurt him deeply, badly damaged his public, private and political reputation as well as brought about public scandal, and odium and contempt against him.
He claimed RM100mil in compensation for aggravated and exemplary damages at an annual interest rate of 8% as well as an injunction to prevent the defendants from publishing the malicious words or any other similar words against him.
The defendants in their statement of defence, said that an apology entitled “Mohon Maaf Dr Zambry” (Sorry Dr Zambry) and the withdrawal of the article was published in Suara Keadilan‘s March 30-Apr 6, 2010 edition.