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Ex-MP fails again to get documents in AirAsia defamation suit

 | August 17, 2017

Court of Appeal says the appeal lacks merit for appellate intervention, and orders Wee Choo Keong to pay RM5,000 in costs to AirAsia.

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PUTRAJAYA: Former Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong again failed to get AirAsia Berhad to disclose certain documents in a defamation suit filed by the low-cost budget airline.

A three-man Court of Appeal bench chaired by Lim Yee Lan said the appeal did not warrant appellant intervention.

“After considering the submissions and records of appeal, we unanimously dismiss the appeal as it lacks merit. The High Court ruling is affirmed,” she said.

The bench ordered Wee, a former Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board chairman, to pay AirAsia RM5,000 in costs.

Following today’s ruling, the High Court is scheduled to begin trial on Sept 4.

The High Court last month dismissed Wee’s application and held that this was an attempt at a fishing expedition to scout for documents to justify his own defence of justification.

In July 2015, AirAsia filed a suit against Wee, the owner of blog http://weechookeong.com, for knowingly and intentionally publishing false and malicious statements defamatory of the low-cost carrier.

The plaintiff said Wee had regularly published many false, misleading and disparaging statements on the blog, including an article entitled “Why Liow & MAHB encouraged AirAsia to owe RM50 million PSC (passenger service charge)/airport tax?” dated April 20, 2015.

AirAsia said Wee had earlier failed to respond to a letter of demand to retract his allegations.

“AirAsia has filed a suit because our reputation has been damaged by this conduct in addition to our efforts to correct the disinformation published about AirAsia,” the statement of claim said.

Wee, however said that he had responded to the letter and had offered AirAsia to submit their comments to be published in his blog. However AirAsia did not take up the offer.

Wee had pleaded the defence of justification and fair comment in response to the suit.

Just as parties had closed their pleadings, Wee applied for discovery against AirAsia to disclose documents related to the payment of Passenger Service Charge to MAHB.

Lawyer Leonard Yeoh, appearing for the airline, today said in order to plead justification, Wee must have some basis to secure the documents.

“As found by the High Court, the application is a mere fishing expedition,” he added.

Yeoh said there was inordinate delay in filing the application as it was made just as the trial was about to start.

Counsel Khoo Guan Huat, who represented Wee, said an application for discovery could be made anytime before hearing began.


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