GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan has filed a defamation suit against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for “damaging the reputation of the party” over the land sale in Tanjung Pinang in the late 1990s.
Gerakan is suing Lim through Liang Teck Meng, the party’s secretary-general. They are seeking aggravated and exemplary damages deemed fit by the court.
Gerakan is also demanding a public apology from Lim, which should be published in all media outlets.
The suit was filed at the High Court here by Gerakan’s legal and human rights bureau chief Baljit Singh.
According to the statement of claim, Lim has repeatedly said the previous Gerakan-led Penang government had sold 980 acres of land valued at RM42.7 million in Tanjong Pinang at RM1 per sq ft in the 1990s.
Gerakan claimed Lim had damaged its reputation among the public through his statements which were published in seven different news sites and DAP websites.
Lim’s statements, the party said had implied Gerakan was unprincipled, untrustworthy, and was not bothered about the rights of Penangites.
The party said Lim’s statement had implied the previous government led by chief minister Koh Tsu Koon had sold the land below market price.
“The defendant had thrown statements which were false without getting any clarification from the plaintiff.
“The defendant had also accused the previous BN Penang government of selling the Tanjung Pinang land for RM1 per sq ft, when in reality it was for reclamation purposes (sic),” the statement of claim read.
At a press conference outside the High Court registrar’s office here, Liang said Gerakan had explained numerous times about the RM1 per sq ft claim, but Lim had continued to make erroneous statements about it.
Liang said that there was no sale of land in Tanjung Pinang and that it was actually a concession agreement on land reclamation that was awarded in 1992.
He said Gerakan had compiled sufficient concrete and comprehensive evidence to prove that Lim had repeatedly defamed Gerakan and Koh since 2012.
Liang also said it was “not too late” for the suit, as Gerakan had wanted to give ample time to Lim and the DAP to correct themselves.
He said there was no double standard at play as suggested by Lim.
Lim’s office was reported to have earlier claimed that the Gerakan practised double standards by claiming it had been muzzled by the defamation suits brought against some of its leaders but said nothing when their own leaders sued Lim.
“We see how many people he has sued, you are sec-gen also you sue people. This is the first time (we are suing) after five years (after the first statement was made),” Liang told reporters.
He said despite the “numerous” explanations, Lim refused to understand and had repeated the lie, so much so that people had started to believe the lie.
Lim and his press secretary Cheong Yin Fan were not available for comment.
The Chief Minister’s Office had confirmed receiving a notice of action from Gerakan on July 12.
Liang had earlier demanded that Lim apologise over his claim that the previous Gerakan-led Penang government had sold land below market rate, or he would face a legal suit.