KUALA LUMPUR: A blogger sued by Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim on Tuesday made an unconditional apology to the minister over defamatory articles.
In a joint statement, read in open court by counsel K. Shanmuga, representing Ahmad Mutalib Mohamed Daud, the blogger expressed much regret that the impugned articles were published and offered his sincere apologies to the plaintiff (Rais).
Shanmuga said the defendant (Ahmad Mutalib) had published the articles in good faith but now accepted that the impugned articles had been clarified by the Indonesian maid’s retraction of her complaint.
He also said the defendant, by consent order, had given undertaking through his solicitor that he would not ever repeat the same allegations or any other similar allegations against Rais.
Earlier, Rais’ counsel, Shahabudin Sheikh Alaudin, when reading the agreed statement, said that Ahmad Mutalib had accepted the allegations were without foundation because the complainant (Indonesian maid) had retracted her complaint.
Shahabudin said the allegations were published on the Sabahkini weblog and caused much distress and anxiety to the plaintiff and his family.
“My Lady, I am glad to say that the defendant is here today through his solicitor to express to the claimant his regret for publishing the said articles. The defendant has also undertaken not to repeat the allegations complained of.
“In those circumstances, the plaintiff feels he has been vindicated and accordingly, is content to let the matter rest and asks to withdraw this action with no order as to costs,” he said.
High Court Judge Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah, who recorded the joint statement, struck out the suit with no order as to costs.
Rais filed the suit on Feb 10 after four articles he regarded as libellous, dated Jan 1, Jan 3, Jan 5 and Jan 7, were uploaded by Ahmad Mutalib on the Sabahkini weblog.
Ahmad Mutalib, a blogger who provides independent news via his weblog, has his registered address in Kota Kinabalu.
In his statement of claim, Rais said that certain words which appeared in the articles were malicious and defamatory, and gravely injured him personally and his professional reputation nationally and internationally, where he had suffered considerable embarrassment, distress and damage.
He also said the articles were absurd and wicked in misrepresentation of his character and office.