Published: Tuesday October 23, 2012 MYT 9:55:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday October 23, 2012 MYT 11:26:12 AM
Khir Toyo apologises to Ronnie Liu to settle defamation suit
By M. MAGESWARI
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo on Tuesday apologised to Selangor executive council member Ronnie Liu to settle a defamation suit against him for implying that the politican was involved in prostitution activities.
Dr Mohamad Khir read out a statement of apology in English and Malay to Liu in open court for causing to be published a defamatory article in the China Press newspaper dated May 9, 2008.
"I implied that YB Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew had obstructed the officers of the MPSJ and the police in closing down a hotel in Puchong which I insinuated was a centre for prostitution activities.
"I also apologise to YB Ronnie Liu for further insinuating that he was involved in such activities which insinuation is totally untrue," he read out the statement.
Dr Mohamad Khir said that he deeply regretted for causing Liu severe distress as a result of the publication of the article.
"I hereby retract all statements made against him as evident in the said article and apologise to him unconditionally," he added.
Liu, who stood near the dock, smiled and said he accepted the apology.
Liu's lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo told High Court judge Justice Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad that under the terms of settlement, the defendant would read out the statement of apology to his client in open court, the statement would be distributed to the press, they would shake hands in court and that there was no order as to costs.
Justice Nik Hasmat then recorded the consent judgment and held that there was no order as to costs.
"This will be the final settlement. I must congratulate the parties for a fruitful end," she said.
After the settlement, Dr Mohamad Khir shook hands with Liu at the public gallery and tapped his shoulder in a friendly manner.
Speaking to media later, Liu said that he accepted the apology readily.
"There is a Chinese saying, if you can forgive people, we just forgive. What he said is untrue and caused injury and damage to my reputation as a politician," he said, adding that survival of politicians depended on credibility.
"It is okay to criticise your opponents but it has to be with basis and true. It cannot hurt others. It must be truthful and reasonable," he added.
In a statement of claim filed on Oct 6, 2008, Liu said the words had meant that he was immoral and not qualified to be a politician.
In the statement of defence filed on Feb 10, 2009, Dr Mohamad Khir said he has a moral and social responsibility as then Opposition Leader in the Selangor legislative assembly to express those words and that the people had a valid interest in such information.
Ronnie Liu settles his defamation suit against Khir Toyo