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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guan Eng finds no reason to apologise to Gerakan



Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has found no basis for issuing an apology to Gerakan over claims that he had defamed the party and its former president Koh Tsu Koon.
Instead, Lim's special legal officer Raja Syarafina Raja Shuib said the chief minister's office readily welcomed service of the cause papers by Gerakan’s legal team.
"What we can’t anticipate, however, is the question of the long time needed to file a suit and the timing now just before the 14th general election," she added.
Lim claimed in 2012 that the previous state government under Koh, the former chief minister, had sold reclaimed land in Tanjung Tokong (Seri Tanjung Pinang) to a developer back in the 1990s for only RM1 per square foot. He produced documents to back up his claim in March 2013.
On July 11 this year, Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng announced that the party would initiate legal action against Lim if he failed to apologise and retract his statement against Gerakan within 72 hours.
Raja Syarafina questioned why Gerakan had taken five years to initiate a court action against the Penang chief minister, who is also DAP secretary-general.
"If Gerakan needs to justify their action now just so that they 'regain respect and dignity as well as putting things back in perspective', why the long delay of five years in the first place?" asked Raja Syarafina.
Raja Syarafina said this in a statement when confirming that the chief minister’s office had received the notice of action from Gerakan on July 12.
'Double standards'
The officer recalled that Gerakan president Mah Siew Kong had claimed that his party does not practise the culture of suing but is compelled to do so in this case.
She said Mah’s remark was unfairly made, given that the mass media in all languages provided better coverage of Gerakan’s statements than Lim's. 
"This privilege is not granted to the Penang chief minister, whose statements either do not get reported at all or a heavily edited version is published," she claimed.
Raja Syarafina alleged that Mah and Gerakan were practising double standards.
She noted that leaders like Penang Gerakan Youth acting chairperson Jason Loo had complained about the "death of freedom of expression" after being sued for defamation by Lim. 
"However, no Gerakan leaders talk about 'death of freedom of expression' when Mah or Gerakan sues Lim," she said.

"Why is it okay for Gerakan to sue but not for Lim to sue?" she asked.
"Such double standards by Gerakan have been comprehensively and consistently rejected by the voters in the last two general elections in 2008 and 2013."
Raja Syarafina said Lim will "vigorously defend" the defamation suit by Gerakan.
He welcomes the opportunity to prove in court that the previous BN Penang state government sold 36 times more land than the present state government, but yet received less money. - Mkini

1 comment:

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