Felda loses RM200mil defamation suit against ex-deputy minister

By M Mageswari, The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and its investment company Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd have lost their RM200mil defamation suit against former Deputy Land and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong.

In court papers, the two had claimed that Dr Tan had caused the publication of defamatory words in Suara Keadilan in its June 22-29 edition last year.

In the suit filed on Jan 25,the two claimed that the words implied that the plaintiffs were involved in corruption and had committed an unlawful act.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof held that the plaintiffs failed to prove that Dr Tan uttered defamatory words and was responsible for the publication of such words in the newspaper report.

Felda has to pay RM100,000 in costs to Dr Tan. However Felda has to pay only RM70,000 in costs as the defendant has to pay RM30,000 costs to plaintiffs for the preliminary point raised in the suit earlier.

In his statement of defence, Dr Tan had admitted to have given an interview to a Suara Keadilan newspaper reporter named as Faizal Zakaria, but claimed he did not defame the two plaintiffs.

Alternatively, Dr Tan said the words were true, in fact, and that they were published on an occasion of qualified privilege.