Felda wins defamation suit against Wan Azizah, two others

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and its investment company have won a defamation suit against PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and two others.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Kamaludin Md Said held that Felda as a statutory body had the right to sue the parties under Section 15 (1) of the Land Development Act 1956.

“There is a statutory provision for the plaintiff (Felda) on the right to sue. Therefore, Felda can institute the civil proceedings (against the defendants). It can sue to protect its reputation,” he said after dismissing the preliminary issue raised in the matter.

Judicial Commissioner Kamaludin said Felda is entitled to enter judgment on liability in the civil dispute.

“Only Parliament, and not the court, can take away those rights (to sue),” he said.

JC Kamaludin ordered a senior assistant registrar to assess costs as well as aggravated and exemplary damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs for libel and malicious falsehood.

JC Kamaludin also granted an injunction to restrain the defendants from repeating the defamatory words.

“Apology is not allowed,” he added.

The defendants’ lead counsel Francis Pereira said that his clients had on Sept 30 admitted liability in respect of two defamatory articles.

Felda was represented by lead counsel Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin and lawyer Cheng Mai.

Felda had on Aug 16, 2010 sued Dr Wan Azizah, her then deputy Dr Syed Husin Ali and four others for RM200mil over claims that the statutory body was bankrupt.

In the defamation claim, the plaintiffs – Felda and its investment company Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd – sued six defendants for false allegations over the process of buying the Felda building.

Suara Keadilan publisher Pelita Koridor Sdn Bhd, its printer Percetakan NPK Sdn Bhd, its editor Dzulkarnain Taib and its writer Rusnizam Mahat are the other four defendants.

On Oct 26, 2010 Felda obtained judgment-in-default-of-appearance in the suit against Suara Keadilan’s publisher and printer.

Dzulkarnain had on Sept 30 had apologised to Felda and undertake to refrain from making any further allegations.

Felda has contended that it sued PKR as the party is responsible for the publication of the monthly newspaper Suara Keadilan which carried the two allegedly defamatory articles in its June 22-29, 2010 edition.

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