Anwar's suit against NST settled

GEORGE TOWN: Jailed former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's defamation suit against New Straits Times (NST) and three other defendants have been settled after apology made and statements retracted.

First defendant Ranjit Singh Mahinder Singh has apologised to Anwar and late Karpal Singh in Penang High Court today before Judge Datuk Rosilah Yop over a defamatory article four years ago.

He made the apology over an article published in an English daily NST on Aug 6, 2013, which titled "Prove you have nothing to hide".

Inside courtroom, Ranjit read through a statement and apologised to Anwar and Karpal over the mentioned article published.

"I further apologise for having called for both Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the late 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 relation.

"I understand that my statements had negative insinuations and I unreservedly apologise to Anwar and the late Karpal and their families," Ranjit said.

NST, nonetheless, with its reporter Adrian Lai and former reporter Looi Sue-Chern also agreed to pay RM60,000 in costs to Anwar.

NST will also publish apology in its newspaper tomorrow.

Rosilah said consent judgement was reached after both sides agreed upon terms of settlement.

Anwar's defamation suit was against Ranjit, Lai, Looi and NST over the article four years ago.

Ranjit was represented by counsel Baljit Singh, Teoh Guat Cheng and Kenail Singh while NST, Lai and Looi by M. Reza Hassan, Ellia Zuraina Mat Zin and Umni Farhana Mohd Nasir.

Anwar's legal team comprised of A. Raveentharan, Sangeet Kaur Deo, Ramkarpal Singh, and Yusmadi Yusof.

Earlier, the former Permatang Pauh MP was greeted with cries of " Reformasi" after making his first appearance at Penang Court complex.

Arriving at about 9am, scores of mainly PKR supporters gathered holding banners and placards shouting for Anwar to be released upon seeing him being heavily-escorted inside courtroom.

Several Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel were spotted standing guard to prevent any untoward while policemen also made their rounds inside court complex.

Roads at Lebuh Farquhar and Lebuh Light were also cordoned off for safety while motorists were stuck in bumper-to-bumper crawl.

Anwar's wife Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, his daughters Nurul Izzah Anwar and Nurul Nuha Anwar and grandchildren were also spotted in court complex besides Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and state exco members.

It was Anwar's first appearance in Penang after he was sentenced to five-year jail imprisonment for sodomy.

Anwar is currently serving the jail term in Sungai Buloh after Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015 upheld his conviction and sentence imposed by Court of Appeal on March 7, 2014.