Published: Wednesday June 6, 2012 MYT 4:31:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday June 6, 2012 MYT 8:19:49 PM
Tony Pua to pay Syabas RM200,000 over defamation suit
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ordered DAP's PJ Utara MP Tony Pua (pix) to pay Syabas RM200,000 in damages over a defamation suit.
Justice Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah also dismissed Pua's counter-claim application and awarded interest at the rate of 4% per annum from the date of judgment till full payment and also costs.
Amelia delivered the decision in chambers.
In her 49-page written judgment, Amelia said that after considering the evidence adduced by both parties, the court found that the plantiff had succeeded in making out its case against the defendant on a balance of probabilities.
"The court herewith grants the plaintiff the injunction sought to restrain the defendant, whether by himself, his servants or agents or otherwise howsoever or wheresoever from further publishing or causing to permitting to be published the words complained or any similar defamatory words of and in relation to the plaintiff," she said.
Amelia also said that the impugned words were circulated to over 33,000 people and the publication of the impugned words by a Member of Parliament, the DAP National Publicity Secretary who is also a member of the Selangor State Government Water Review Panel, carried with it far greater connotations and implications than if they had been uttered by an ordinary man in the street.
"The public looks up to the defendant as their 'wakil rakyat'(MP) and his utterances would carry far greater conviction.
"In such circumstances, it is incumbent upon the defendant, in carrying out his many and varied duties, to ensure that in speaking about and disseminating information which are of public interest to his constituents and the general public, that he does so with a firm resolve to disseminate the information fairly and with no omission of facts which may render a statement to be defamatory.
"Whilst the plaintiff may be encountering cash flow issues, the court does not believe that it is looking to this case to replenish its coffers. With a decision in its favour, the plaintiff would herewith be vindicated and the defamatory words shown to all and sundry as being defamatory," she said.
In the suit filed on Jan 28 last year, Syabas claimed that with the publication of the report in the newspaper on Nov 2010, the company had been brought into public scandal and its image had been tarnished.
Besides seeking an injunction to prevent Pua or his agents from publishing defamatory words against the company, Syabas also sought general damages and costs.
Pua, in his statement of defence, filed on March 14 last year, denied saying the defamatory words and last month, filed an application to strike out the suit by Syabas.