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Friday, September 30, 2011

Court finds Utusan guilty of libelling Khalid Samad

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has found Utusan Malaysia culpable of libel in publishing a statement incriminating ofShah Alam MP Khalid Samad.

However, Justice Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham said Khalid was only entitled to a nominal sum as the court is perplexed over why Bandar Baru Kulim MP Zulkifli Nordin is not named as a defendant.

Justice Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham said the plaintiff (Khalid) has been successful in proving the statement, which was taken from Zulkifli's blog, was wrong.

“The court rejects the defence of qualified privilege as living in Malaysia we have to subscribe to the sensitivity of all races unlike laws in Australia or the United Kingdom,” he said in his oral judgment.

“All the defendants' are guilty of downloading the article from the blog without checking the contents (on its sensitivity).”

Sandosham has fixed Oct 11 to hear submission on damages.

He said the court found calling someone as Abu Jahal and as a kafir (infidel) is the highest defamation in its mind.

In the suit filed last year, Khalid, from PAS, named Utusan Malaysiaand Mingguan Malaysia group editor-in-chief Aziz Ishak and the publisher of Utusan Malaysia and Mingguan Malaysia as defendants.

The Shah Alam MP claimed that on Sept 11, 2009, Aziz, as the group editor-in-chief for both newspapers, with malice, had allowed the publication and printing of defamatory words on him on the front page of the newspapers.

He also claimed that the article entitled 'Zulkifli bidas Pak Janggut' (Zulkifli admonishes Bearded Man) directly or indirectly referred to him even though his name was not mentioned.

[More to follow]

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