Witness: CM did not berate reporters at news conference

(The Star) – A journalist with a Malay daily told a High Court here that she had to translate Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s announcement regarding the New Economic Policy (NEP) from English.

Berita Harian’s Norakmah Mat Youb, 31, said that copies of Lim’s press statement distributed to the reporters on March 11, 2008, were in English.

“As far as I know, there were no Bahasa Malaysia copies of his press statement.

“To my understanding, ‘to free’ also means ‘mentiadakan’, ‘mansuhkan’ or ‘menghapuskan’ when translated to Bahasa Malaysia,” she said.

Norakmah was testifying for the defendant in Lim’s defamation suit against Utusan Melayu (M) Sdn Bhd over an article in Utusan Malaysia dated March 12, 2008, under the heading ‘Tiada Lagi DEB’.

Lim had testified on Jan 11 that he did not say he was going to abolish or ‘menghapuskan’ the NEP but that he would run the government administration free from the NEP that breeds cronyism, corruption and systematic inefficiency.

He said the article took it out of context to imply that he wanted to abolish the NEP and had, among other things, implied that he was an irresponsible and unworthy leader.

He also said he had repeatedly clarified to the media on March 13 and 14 that year that he did not want to abolish the NEP but the defendant continued to defame him.

Lim is Bagan MP and Air Putih assemblyman.

Norakmah also said yesterday that Lim did not rebuke reporters when they used the word ‘abolish’ or ‘menghapuskan’ in reference to the NEP at the March 14 press conference.

She, however, agreed with Lim’s counsel Jagdeep Singh Deo when he put it to her that Lim did not use the words ‘memansuhkan’ and ‘menghapuskan’ at the March 14 press conference.

“He used the word ‘membebaskan’,” she said.

Counsel Mohana Kumar represented Utusan Melayu.

Judicial Commissioner Nurmala Salim fixed March 2 for submissions.