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Monday, January 9, 2017

NST admits story on Anwar 'fixing judges' was baseless

Lawyer Ranjit Singh Mahinder Singh has tendered an apology to PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim for the publication of articles in 2013 allegedly implying that he was a dishonest politician involved in money laundering activities, while New Straits Times agreed that the story was baseless.
The lawyer also apologised to the late Karpal Singh who was alleged to have received RM50 million from Anwar to fix judges.
Ranjit read out his apology in court, saying he "unequivocally and unreservedly apologise for my statements".
The statement he was referring to was published by the NST on Aug 6, 2013 on Page 10 titled "Prove you have nothing to hide".
"I further apologise for having called both Anwar and Karpal Singh to declare their assets to the public in order to prove they were clean and to clear themselves of unproven and unsubstantiated allegations against them in relations to judiciary fixing and corruption.
"I understand that my statements had negative insinuations and I unreservedly apologise to Anwar and the late Karpal and their families," Ranjit added.
The NST said in a statement that it acknowledged that the impugned article including but not limited to the headline was "baseless" in light of Ranjit's apology.
The NST will pay cost amounting to RM60,000 to Anwar.
It is learnt that NST will publish the said apology in its newspaper tomorrow.
Ranjit's legal team was led by Baljit Singh, Teoh Guat Cheng and Kenail Singh, while NST was represented by M Reza Hassan, Ellia Zuraina Mat Zin and Umni Farhana Mohd Nasir.
According to Anwar's lawyer S Raveentharan, the settlement was initiated by Ranjit, the first defendant, to which his client (Anwar) consented.
Led by Sangeet Kaur Deo, the others in Anwar's legal team were Ramkarpal Singh and Yusmadi Yusof.
After a two-hour negotiation in chambers between the parties, the court was adjourned to 2.30pm.
The consent order was recorded before High Court judge Rosilah Yop.
Negotiations went on from 9.30am to 12.30pm, and from 2.30pm to 4pm. Anwar was only brought into court at 4.05pm.
Asked later why he did not proceed with the case, Anwar replied: "They have agreed to apologise, so I am okay with it."
He also said he was satisfied that his reputation and that of Karpal's and their families have been "cleared".
Initially, in August 2013, Anwar filed a RM70 million defamation suit against the lawyer, the newspaper, and its two reporters for the articles published in the NST on Aug 6, 2013 and Feb 3, 2014.
Ranjit was sued together with reporters Looi Sue-Chern and Adrian Lai and NST Press Bhd. Looi is no longer with the NST.
Anwar claimed that the defendants allegedly slandered and accused him of being involved in judiciary fixing, hiding his assets and bank accounts.
He said the articles accused him of "unprofessional and dishonest conduct".
Anwar said the defendants accused him of paying the late Karpal a total of RM50 million, of being involved in money laundering, of bribing judges and prosecutors and of using the Bar Council as a tool for his politics.
Earlier, Penang High Court was packed with Anwar's supporters and reporters. Police refused to allow many of them into the court earlier.
It is learnt that the police restricted public entry into the court, which was on the first floor of the old court building opposite Dewan Sri Pinang on Light Street, due to the court's limited capacity.-Mkini

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