GEORGE TOWN: A senior reporter with Guang Ming Daily today dropped his defamation suit against former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, just two days into the hearing.
Ong Beng Siang, 42, sued Lim for defamation in 2017 after Lim used words such as “unprofessional” and “unethical” and claimed that Ong wanted to topple the Penang government. Lim had said this in a Facebook post in response to news reports by Ong.
According to Lim’s lawyer K Simon Murali, Ong had decided to drop the case so as to let Lim “concentrate on his work as a Cabinet minister” and in the spirit of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call to “move forward”.
Simon said this was conveyed by Ong’s lawyer, V Amareson, in court today.
Simon also said he had asked the court to prevent Ong from filing another suit against Lim in the future, which the court allowed.
He said justice Rosilah Yop further ordered Ong to pay Lim RM40,000 in costs.
Simon told the court Lim was prepared for the trial and that witnesses had been subpoenaed.
Amareson and Kernail Singh appeared for Ong, while Kok Yuen Lin also appeared for Lim.
On Jan 22, 2017, Lim had said on Facebook: “We know there are reporters who want to sully the Penang government. If they want to topple the Penang government, please state it, but do not publish baseless reports.
“Someone should be of morals, journalists must be ethical. We all know the background of Ong Beng Siang from Guang Ming Daily. His appearance does not fit a (sic) character of a professional reporter. I ask Ong to publish an apology in the papers.”
In his suit, Ong said Lim’s posting had made him look unprofessional, unethical and irresponsible in his work, and implied that he wrote baseless news reports.
He claimed for general, exemplary, and aggravated damages with 5% interest per annum until completion of the suit with relief to be determined by the court.