PPBM man files defamation suit against NST

New Straits Times newspaperGEORGE TOWN: A Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) member filed a RM2.6 million defamation suit against the New Straits Times newspaper today over two articles published on its portal and print edition.

Padang Serai PPBM Membership Registrar Khairul Anuar Ramli filed the suit at the Sessions Court here today after the newspaper failed to retract two articles titled “Ezam should be rejected from PPBM membership” and “Reject Ezam’s application, says PPBM youth chief” published on Oct 3 and Oct 4 respectively.

Khairul’s lawyer Saiful Ambar Abdullah Ambar said a letter of demand was sent to NST on Wednesday, but there was no response forthcoming.

He also claimed a press conference was held after the stories were published, demanding NST apologise within 24 hours or risk legal action.

“We will serve the defendants soon,” Saiful told reporters outside the courthouse here today.

According to Khairul’s statement of claim:

1) The article gave the impression that the plaintiff was power hungry despite the fact PPBM has yet to have an elected committee; (NST had attributed Khairul as PPBM’s pro-tem Youth chief in the said articles);

2) Plaintiff had said former Umno member Ezam Nor was a hypocrite, opportunist and self-serving person;

3) Plaintiff had said Ezam was willing to sell his friendship for personal interests, involving money and projects;

4) Plaintiff had said Ezam had caused a lot of problems when he was in Umno, PKR, and other NGOs before this;

5) PPBM’s image would be marred if Ezam chooses to join PPBM;

6) Plaintiff would stop PPBM from allowing Ezam to be a member of the party and would personally ensure Ezam does not join the party.

Khairul also claimed the two articles were reported, edited and published with malicious intent, and done without checking the source or referring to him.

Khairul is seeking RM2.6 million in general damages for articles published both online and in print, exemplary damages and aggravated damages.

He is also seeking for an order for the defendants to retract the two articles and publish an official apology in NST and other mainstream newspapers.

Khairul is also seeking an order prohibiting the defendants and any other channels from continuing to publish the statements in the said articles.

NST journalist Awaina Arbee was named as first defendant, New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) Group Managing Editor Abdul Jalil Hamid as second defendant and NSTP as third defendant.