SHAH ALAM – The High Court here today dismissed a defamation suit filed by Pertubuhan Peribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) president Datuk Ibrahim Ali against the group managing director/group chief editor of The Sun newspaper and two others.
The others named as defendants were journalist Terence Fernandez and the publisher of the newspaper, Sun Media Corporation Sdn Bhd.
Judicial Commissioner M. Gunalan ordered Ibrahim to pay RM50,000 in costs.
Ibrahim filed the suit on April 29, 2010 over an article with the title “Sultan Keeps Perkasa Guessing on Invitation” which was published in the newspaper on March 17, 2010.
In his statement of claim, Ibrahim said, among others, the article was malicious in nature and had portrayed Perkasa as an extreme group in fighting for the rights of a certain race and that he was a leader of a chauvinist group.
Ibrahim also said that the Selangor Sultan had never issued a statement like what was stated in the article.
Besides asking for general and exemplary damages, Ibrahim had sought an injunction to stop the defendants from further publishing the said defamatory words in their newpaper and other publications under their control.
Judge Gunalan held that it was clear and unrefuted that the impugned article which was about Perkasa and the royal prerogative, was not directed at the plaintiff (Ibrahim) personally nor did it concern his conduct or character.
Gunalan said the plaintiff, therefore, failed to prove that the article contained the alleged defamatory words as stated in his suit.
“In my judgment, the plaintiff (Ibrahim) as an individual could not be equated to Perkasa which is registered under the Societies Act. Eventhough the plaintiff is the founding leader, it is plainly untenable and erroneous for both to be regarded as one and the same.
“It is important to distinguish between a private citizen and public figure which the plaintiff is. A public figure must be prepared to face critical comments from the concerned public, including the mass media,” he said.
Gunalan said the defendants, on the other hand, had shown that they had acted responsibly and fairly in line with their duty to inform the public on the matter.
In fact, the judge said, the plaintiff himself was contacted for his views on the matter but declined to comment or offer any clarification.
Ibrahim was represented by counsel Mohamed Harmy Yusoff while Datuk Nitin Nadkarni appeared for the defendants.
When met by reporters, Ibrahim said he would appeal against the court’s decision. – BERNAMA