KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here awarded an additional RM500,000 in damages to newspaper publisher, The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd, over the previous government’s decision to suspend them for reports on 1MDB four years ago.
Justice Nordin Hassan allowed The Edge’s appeal to seek exemplary damages over the government’s three-month suspension from July to September 2015.
He also maintained the High Court registrar’s decision to award RM11.2 million to The Edge on their loss of income as a result of the suspension, adding that the publisher had provided experts’ evidence on the amount.
“RM500,000 is an appropriate sum for exemplary damages,” he said.
Nordin also said the government did not provide any evidence to rebut the publisher’s expert evidence on the loss for three months’ income.
“The registrar is correct in her decision to award RM11.2 million, based on the evidence adduced.”
However, the court dismissed The Edge’s bid to obtain aggravated and constitutional damages over the suspension.
The court also ordered the government to pay costs of RM15,000 to the newspaper publisher.
The government had filed an appeal early this year to challenge the RM11.2 million award given to The Edge.
Senior federal counsel Alice Loke, for the government, had said that they took the position that no damages ought to be awarded.
The Edge was suspended for three months, beginning July 2015, on the grounds that its reports on 1MDB were prejudicial to public order and national security and likely to alarm public opinion.
The suspension was revoked by the High Court in September that year, shortly before the suspension was supposed to end.
The Federal Court, in upholding a lower court’s findings that the publisher can claim for damages from the suspension, ordered the High Court to assess the damages.