Publisher to pay Guan Eng RM130,000 over undersea tunnel report

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

GEORGE TOWN: The publisher of the New Straits Times (NST) and Berita Harian (BH) newspapers today agreed to pay DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng RM130,000 in damages over three articles deemed defamatory which were published earlier this year.

Lim had sued The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd (NSTP) over the articles quoting Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) chief Teng Chang Yeow as saying Lim had lied about the state government’s payments to the contractors of the undersea tunnel and three main roads project.

A consent judgment was recorded before High Court justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail, with NSTP agreeing to pay RM130,000 and publish an apology to Lim on Sunday.

The three articles in question were published in NST and BH on Jan 17, with another article appearing in the Jan 19 edition of the NST.

In the articles, Teng had accused Lim of lying when he said the Penang government had not paid “a single sen” as official documents proved otherwise.

Lim, in his statement of claim, said the articles quoting Teng made him look like someone who abused power and “deceived the general populace of Penang on matters of public expenditure”.

He also claimed the articles made him appear averse to criticism and as someone who used civil suits “as an instrument to silence or subdue critics”.

He said the newspapers failed to obtain his response to Teng’s allegations, let alone publish his comments on the matter which he had made at a press conference attended by reporters from the dailies.

Lim was represented by K Simon Murali while Rueben Mathaivaranam appeared for NSTP.

Lim has filed a separate defamation suit against Teng on the same matter which will be heard from March 25 to 28 next year.