Publication suspension: The Edge gets RM500,000 in exemplary damages

14 Aug 2019 / 21:09 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Publishing company, The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd, was awarded RM500,000 in exemplary damages in addition to the RM11.2 million in compensatory damages for loss of revenue due to the suspension of its two publications by the Home Ministry (KDN) for three months in 2015, following its reports on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue.

High Court Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan made the decision after allowing the appeal by The Edge Communications, as the applicant, for exemplary damages.

“I find that the amount of RM500,000 is an appropriate sum for exemplary damages. However, I am of the view that the applicant’s claim for constitutional and aggravated damages is inappropriate to be awarded in the circumstances of its case. So, the applicant’s appeal is allowed in part with cost of RM5,000,” the judge said.

Meanwhile, Justice Nordin dismissed the government’s appeal against the High Court’ s decision which awarded more than RM11.2 million compensation to the publishing company. He also ordered the government to pay RM10,000 in cost.

Justice Nordin in his judgment said the deputy registrar’s decision that she was bound by the High Court judge’s ruling on the amount of compensation, was correct.

“Aside from the compensatory damages based on the established facts, the publication had been a victim of a reckless, arbitrary and unconstitutional act of the respondents (KDN secretary-general and the Home Minister).

“The chartered financial analyst confirmed the method of computation for the compensatory damages for the amount of RM11.2 million in the affidavit is correct and the assumptions made are reasonable,” the judge said.

Justice Nordin also said the court also found that the respondents had not produced any evidence to challenge the method of calculation for the amount claimed.

On Dec 17 last year, the High Court ordered the KDN secretary-general and the Home Minister as respondents to pay RM11,260,350.00 to The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily over their three-month suspension from July 27, 2015.

The court also ordered both respondents to pay 4% in interest beginning July 27, 2015, until the full settlement of the case.

This followed the Federal Court’s decision on Aug 9, 2017, which ruled that The Edge could seek damages from the Home Minister for the loss of income suffered in the suspension of its two publications after dismissing the Home Minister’s and the KDN secretary-general’s appeal to set aside the Court of Appeal decision which allowed The Edge to seek damages from both parties.

With the Federal Court’s decision, the case was returned to the High Court for assessment of damages.

On Aug 30, 2016, the Court of Appeal dismissed KDN’s appeal against the High Court’s decision for the assessment of damages.

KDN suspended the publication of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 27, 2015, following their reports over the 1MDB issue.

However, the directive was revoked by the High Court on Sept 21, 2015, allowing The Edge’s application for a judicial review to challenge the directive.

The High Court also ordered for the assessment of damages for losses suffered by The Edge. — Bernama

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