Chin Tong settles ‘communist uniform’ defamation suit

Azwanddin Hamzah and Liew Chin Tong after they settled the dispute today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Liew Chin Tong’s defamation suit against Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president Azwanddin Hamzah over an allegation that the deputy defence minister had worn a “communist uniform” at a military event was settled without a trial.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, who represented Liew, said the suit was resolved on terms reflected in a consent judgment before High Court judge Azimah Omar.

He said Azwanddin issued an unequivocal apology that the statement made against Liew was without basis and untrue.

“He will also make a RM40,000 payment to my client within 90 days,” Ramkarpal told reporters.

Ramkarpal said Azwanddin should publish the apology in six media outlets, including Free Malaysia Today and the defendant’s Facebook, within 14 days.

Azwanddin and his agents are also prohibited from repeating the defamatory statement.

Lawyer Sarah Abishegam, who represented Azwanddin, also confirmed the terms of the settlement.

Liew filed the RM20 million suit against Azwanddin on Dec 27 over the Facebook posting, which was later published in several news portals and newspapers.

Azwanddin was alleged to have uploaded an image and captioned it with the remarks on Oct 30, 2018.

The suit also involved an article written by Azwanddin on JMM’s website on Nov 19, 2018 with the title “Kementerian Pertahanan Kini Berada Dalam Tekanan Dan Ancaman” (“The defence ministry is under pressure and threat”).

Since July, lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant have been negotiating to settle the matter without having to go through a trial.

Liew hoped individuals and groups would restrain from playing up racial and religious sentiments and not resort to publishing baseless reports to influence the public.

“The uniform that I was wearing was supplied by the defence ministry,” he said.

Azwanddin shook hands with Liew after the court settlement.