Federal Court dismisses Raub gold mine’s appeal in defamation suit

PUTRAJAYA: A five-man bench of the Federal Court today dismissed the appeal by Raub Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd (RAGM) in its lawsuit against a Bukit Koman resident in Pahang for defamation in respect of two articles.

Federal Court judge Ramly Ali, who presided over the bench, said the appellate court had applied correctly the test in determining the impugned words and in concluding that the words in the first article did not expose RAGM to hatred, contempt or ridicule.

He also said the court agreed with the High Court and Court of Appeal that the words complained of by RAGM in the second article were not the actual words uttered or published by Hue Shieh Lee but the words were, in fact, a report or statements by a reporter.

Ramly said RAGM had failed to call the reporter as a witness during the trial to prove that she had interviewed Hue and Hue had actually uttered those words.

He said RAGM’s claim for malicious falsehood based on the two articles must also fall as RAGM failed to show that it suffered any special damage as a result of the publication of the articles.

“In the present case, the respondent (Hue) merely read out the survey results and expressed the concerns of the residents.

“She merely reported the information that was obtained from the survey carried out by the residents,” said Ramly.

He said none of the residents was called as witnesses to show that the results conveyed by Hue were not true.

Ramly ordered RAGM to pay RM60,000 in costs.

The other judges on the bench were Justices Azahar Mohamed, Balia Yusof Wahi, Rohana Yusuf and Mohd Zawawi Salleh.

RAGM filed the lawsuit against Hue, who was the president of an activist group called the Anti-Cyanide Group in 2013, seeking damages over two articles published by the online portals, Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today, in 2012.

RAGM claimed the words uttered by her were untrue and were based on facts that were not verified by the relevant authorities and sought general damages, exemplary damages and aggravated damages for libel and malicious falsehood.