SHAH ALAM: The High Court here has ordered former Damansara MP Tony Pua and recently elected Puchong MP Yeo Bee Yin to pay RM350,000 in damages for defaming former deputy minister Chew Mei Fun over allegations she approved the sale of land at a lower value to MCA.
Justice Roslan Abu Bakar said Chew, also a former MCA vice-president, had proven her case against the DAP duo on a balance of probabilities.
Chew had sued Pua in respect of publications which appeared in Malay Mail and Nanyang Siang Pau as well as on FMT in September 2017.
Yeo was sued in respect of a video published on Facebook and by Nanyang Siang Pau in the same month.
Pua and Yeo had alleged that Chew, who sat on a district land committee, had approved the sale of a piece of land to Selangor MCA below its market price.
In his ruling, Roslan said both publications were defamatory of Chew and that the defences of justification, fair comment and the Reynolds privilege raised by the duo had failed.
Pua and Yeo were ordered to pay Chew RM200,000 and RM150,000, respectively, in damages.
Chew, who was represented by Rueben Mathiavaranam, was also awarded RM50,000 in costs payable by the defendants.
Pua and Yeo were represented by Syahredzan Johan.
Chew, a former deputy women’s development, family and community minister, and a senator from 2014 to 2017, filed her suit in March 2018.
At the time the offending statements were made, Pua was the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, and Yeo the Damansara Utama assemblyman.
They had claimed Chew abused her power and put herself in a position of conflict of interest.
However, Chew said she did not sit on the land committee as land matters were outside her purview.
She also said Yeo had alleged that the land in question was being used by squatters for dragon fruit farming at the time it was sold to MCA.