KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife have settled their libel suit against Nga Kor Ming after the Taiping MP expressed his deepest regret over his Facebook (FB) posting.
KL High Court judge Justice Siti Khadijah S. Hassan Badjenid recorded the consent judgment in open court here on Monday.
There was no order as to costs.
The couple had sued Nga over his alleged libellous posting in his FB account implying abuse of power.
In the lawsuit, the couple claimed that Nga, who is a DAP politician, had on March 29 last year uploaded in his FB account their photograph with several Cabinet ministers and Wisma Putra high ranking officers at a hotel room in China, with publication of defamatory words against them.
Earlier, Nga’s lawyer Alex Tan Chie Sian read out a statement for his client, saying that the Taiping MP “have been made to understand that the picture referred to was taken in China when the Prime Minister was making arrangement to return to Malaysia upon learning the passing of Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah.”
Tan said Nga had “expressed his deepest regret that the picture had been misconstrued and taken out of context”.
He also said that Nga as a matter of goodwill would withdraw the comments attributed to the picture and would not publish similar content.
The couple’s lead counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun also read out a statement for his clients saying that:
“In view of the sincerity expressed through the deepest regret, willingness to withdraw the comments and undertaking not to publish the same in the future, the plaintiffs hereby accept the defendant’s statement.”
Mohd Hafarizam said Nga now has to upload his court statement on the MP’s FB account and FB page within seven days from Monday.
He said his clients had agreed that the consent judgment would be deemed to be the full and final settlement of the civil claim.
Justice Siti Khadijah said all pending applications over the suit would be struck out due to the settlement by the parties.
Monday was originally fixed for the hearing of stay applications pending disposal of two appeals.
Among others, the couple want to appeal over the ruling that a trial was required to determine the suit. The trial had been slotted for two weeks from May 16.
When met by reporters later, Mohd Hafarizam said his clients’ action was done to protect their reputation and integrity and had not contemptuously attempted to put Nga in a repulsive situation.
“The laws of this country accords the freedom of expression, however, one must also bear in mind that the freedom is not absolute, as it comes with limitations and exercise of responsibility.
“Where freedom is taken too far ahead of its enshrined purpose, more often than not, the aftermath repercussion has always been unsightly and unpleasant,” said Mohd Hafarizam in his statement to the media over the consent judgment.
In the lawsuit, Najib said that the offending words had implied that he was not fit to run the Malaysian Government as he had delegated his duties to his wife.
Najib and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor have named Nga, 43, as the sole defendant in the libel suit.
In their statement of claim dated June 11 last year, Rosmah said that the words had implied that she had abused her power and had interest in the governmentâ€™s administration system.
Among others, the couple sought for damages, an apology and an injunction to prevent Nga from further publishing the alleged libel in any manner against them.