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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Journalist need not reveal source, High Court rules

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has ruled that journalist Joseph Sipalan need not reveal his sources for a news article he wrote six years ago, which had led to a legal dispute between two politicians.

NONEOne of the lawyers litigating in the case, Prem Ramachandran, told reporters that his client Tiong King Sing's application to compel Joseph to reveal his source has been dismissed.

"The application has been dismissed and the cost is RM15,000 (to be paid to) Joseph and RM5,000 for (the defendant) Ong Tee Keat (left)," he told reporters after spending nearly two hours in Justice Lau Bee Lan's chambers today with Ong's lawyer Bhag Singh.

He declined to disclose the grounds for Lau's decision in chambers today, pending the judge's written decision.

Prem added that the cost is payable only at the conclusion of the case and its next mention in court is on Aug 29. However, he said Tiong has instructed him to file an appeal before that date.

The dispute arose from a news report prepared by Joseph that was published on Sept 6, 2007 in the New Straits Times.

tiong king sing 061009It quotes unnamed MCA leaders saying, among others, that Ong had alleged Tiong and MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek were amassing a RM100 million war chest to topple him.

It also suggests that Tiong (right), as the then Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd CEO, wanted to sweep that Port Klang Free Zone scandal under the carpet.

Tiong later filed a defamation suit against Ong and several others, and then an application to compel Joseph to reveal his sources.

This is likely to be the first time in a civil suit in Malaysia where a lawyer had asked a journalist to name his sources.

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