Ex-headmaster, PIBG chairman win RM550,000 in defamation suits

Lim Jenn Shiah (right) with his counsel Saran Singh after the court ruling today.

SHAH ALAM: A former headmaster and the former chairman of the SJK (C) Yuk Chai parent-teacher association (PIBG) were awarded RM550,000 in damages today after the High Court found a businessman liable for defamation.

Lim Jenn Shiah had held a press conference in 2014, accusing Goh Cheng Leong and Thean Kon Fah of operating unauthorised bank accounts to collect public donations.

Judge Roslan Abu Bakar said the duo had proven their cases against Lim on the balance of probability.

He ordered Lim to pay Goh, who was headmaster from 1997 to 2014, RM300,000 in general and exemplary damages.

He also ordered Lim, who was PIBG chairman from 2009 to 2012, to pay RM250,000 in compensation to Thean, who was PIBG chairman from 2012 to 2014.

Lim, who was represented by Saran Singh, was also ordered to pay Goh and Thean costs of RM20,000 each and to publish an apology in three Chinese newspapers, his social media, and a news portal.

Roslan said the damages would include interest of 4% per year until the judgment sum is settled.

He said Goh and Thean had shown that the defamatory words were in reference to them, that the published words were defamatory and that Lim was responsible for their publication.

Lim claimed he discovered that the school had used unauthorised bank accounts to collect donations from the public.

In their statements of claim filed in 2016, Goh and Thean said Lim had held a news conference outside the Selangor education department on Oct 29, 2014, and made defamatory remarks which were published in local Chinese dailies.

They said Lim also posted recordings of the event on Facebook that same day.

They said the allegations had tarnished their reputations and implied that they were involved in cheating, deceit and misappropriation of funds.

Saran told reporters he had been instructed to file for a stay of execution pending the outcome of the appeal in the Court of Appeal.