Guan Eng sends legal notice to The Star


GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has sent a notice of demand to the Star Media Group Bhd and two reporters over an article published in the daily.

Lim claimed that The Star printed “lies” by Penang Barisan Nasional chairman Teng Chang Yeow on a Jerejak Island deal, where Lim was alleged to have rejected a profitable venture in 2013.

The DAP secretary-general is seeking a retraction and apology over the story carried on both the print and online editions of the daily on Nov 16. He is also demanding for damages.

“I had not revealed to anyone that I had instituted legal proceedings against The Star, yet Teng knew and announced it in his press statement yesterday.

“Only The Star and I would be privy to this information.

“This only further validates suspicion that the mainstream media and BN have such a close rapport that they fail to demand the same degree of truth, documentary proof, investigative reporting and public accountability as they demand from the Penang Pakatan government,” Lim told reporters at the Penang Assembly today.

On Nov 15, The Star reported that the Penang government via a state agency, had rejected a redevelopment deal on Jerejak Island in 2013.

Teng said Lim, as a chairman of the state agency, had rejected a deal that could have made a “guaranteed RM220 million profit” if it had gone through.

He made the statement based on “reliable PDC (Penang Development Corporation) sources”. Lim has since demanded for proof of his claim.

In response, Teng had asked Lim to release correspondence related to the deal. Lim retorted by saying since Teng was the accuser, the burden of proof was on him.

According to Lim’s notice of demand, The Star has been asked to prove the authenticity of the quotes or statements made by Teng.

The Star has also been asked to reveal the identity of the “reliable PDC sources” within 48 hours upon receipt of the letter.

In addition, Lim has demanded a retraction as well as an apology published in a conspicuous page of the newspaper and is seeking damages for the injury caused.

He has left it to The Star to reply with “a sum that it was willing to pay” as damages within seven days of receipt of the letter.

When contacted, an official from The Star said they had left the matter to their lawyers.

Recently, state agency Penang Development Corporation sold its 49% stake in Tropical Island Resort Sdn Bhd (TIR) to a subsidiary of Ideal Properties Group. TIR owns 80 acres of Jerejak Island, which includes a closed-down resort.

Federal agency Urban Development Authority holds the majority share in TIR at 51%. PDC has sold its share for a RM140.6 million profit.