KUALA LUMPUR: Seputeh MP Teresa Kok Suh Sim (pix) was today awarded RM80,00 for damages after winning a defamation suit against Syarhan Humaizi Abdul Halim over articles published in the Facebook account of the Selangor PAS Youth head last year.
This followed the decision of High Court judge Datuk Mohd Firuz Jaffril, who allowed the defamation claims by Kok as the plaintiff against Syarhan as defendant filed on Feb 4, 2019.
Mohd Firuz in his judgement, said the court found two articles produced by the defendant (Syarhan) referred to the plaintiff and slandered her.
He said the articles posted on the defendant’s Facebook site had been read and received feedback from the social site users.
“In the end, the readers would find the plaintiff as an anti-Islam person, a racist and gave negative implications on her reputation as a politician,” he said.
The judge said the court did not agree with the defence of the defendant that Kok was anti-Islam after alleging Kok and DAP were against Jawi writing on road signs and also gave support to a Beer Festival held in Kuala Lumpur.
“The court conceded the freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution but the right is subject to the law especially the Sedition Act,” said Mohd Firuz who also ordered the defendant to pay RM10,000 in costs to the plaintiff.
On the RM80,000 compensation, Mohd Firuz said the amount was reasonable and was not aimed at punishing the defendant.
Syarhan, who was present at the proceeding today, was represented by counsel Wan Rohimi Wan Daud, while Kok was represented by lawyers S. N. Nair and K. Murali.
In the suit filed on Feb 4 2019, Kok alleged Syarhan as the defendant had written and uploaded an article entitled “Ucapan YB Ustaz Khalil Benar: DAP Jangan Kurang Ajar” in his Facebook account on Jan 19 in the same year, which was also published by the print and social media in the country and abroad.
In her statement of claim, Kok accused the defendant of also producing another article entitled: “Teresa Kok did not agree with Islam as federal official religion,” in a news portal on Jan 12, 2019.
The plaintiff claimed the defamatory words in both articles among others meant she was anti-Islam, racist and abuse her power as a minister as well as unethical and cannot be trusted.
Syarhan in his statement of defence filed on March 29, 2019, alleged the first article produced by him was based on facts and reasonable political reactions against DAP apart from claiming it did not slander the plaintiff.
Syarhan also claimed he did not produced the second article apart from alleging the article was not related to Kok.
Meanwhile, Wan Rohimi when met by reporters said he would discuss with his client on whether to file an appeal on today’s decision or otherwise. - Bernama