Felcra sues deputy minister, Roketkini for defamation

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong.

KUALA LUMPUR: Felcra Berhad is suing Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong and an editor of news portal Roketkini.com for defamation over an article claiming the existence of illegal transactions in the sale of palm oil.

The suit, filed on June 6 through the legal firm of Omar Ismail Hazman & Co, named Sim, who is also Bukit Mertajam MP, and the senior editor of Roketkini as the first and second defendants, respectively.

Lawyer Norja Abdul Razak, who represents Felcra, said the case management was handled by Judicial Commissioner Faizah Jamaludin in chambers today.

“The court set Sept 13 for further case management and ordered the plaintiff to enter its affidavit in reply to the defence on or before Aug 16,” he said.

In the statement of claim, Felcra claimed that both defendants published an article with the title “Peserta Felcra rugi RM600 juta setahun akibat urus niaga haram?” (Felcra participants lose RM600 million a year due to illegal business transactions?).

It appeared on Roketkini.com last March 12, based on a statement by Sim.

Felcra claimed the article contained words intended to mean that the company was involved in unlawful business transactions with a third party which resulted in losses to the Felcra participants.

It also meant the company had breached regulations on palm oil sale with a much lower oil extraction rate (OER) than the minimum rate set by the law, Felcra said.

The company said all its business transactions met regulations and the publication of the article had affected its reputation as an organisation set up since 1966 for the development of the rural sector.

It is seeking general and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction to prevent the defendants from publishing similar articles, and also a public apology from them to be published in the local newspapers and social media.