Guan Eng demands RM100 million from Raja Petra for exposing his corruption involving the Penang undersea tunnel
(FMT) – The High Court today set May 25 to deliver its decision on the quantum of damages to be awarded to former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng in his defamation lawsuit against blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin over allegations of corruption in the state’s undersea tunnel project.
Judicial commissioner Mohd Arief Emran Arifin fixed the date for the decision, which will be delivered through Zoom, after hearing Lim’s testimony and submission from his lawyer, Simon Murali.
Lim had obtained a default judgment against Raja Petra last year after the blogger failed to enter his appearance in court.
His legal team also applied to the court for substitute service in which notices of the suit were published in three newspapers. Raja Petra failed to respond to these by Feb 10, 2020, leading to Lim filing for a judgment in default.
Arief also instructed Simon to file an additional submission on the trend of court damages in defamation cases.
“I can deliver a reasonable amount, taking into account he (Lim) was the former finance minister and chief minister and the extent of publication (of the defamatory statements),” he said.
Earlier, Arief asked Lim the amount of damages he is seeking from Raja Petra.
“At least RM10 million for each article,” Lim said, adding that Raja Petra published 10 articles alleging corruption in the undersea tunnel project.
This prompted Arief to say: “That is a lot, Mr Lim.”
Arief: How much has your reputation been damaged?
Lim: Incalculable. But it is up to the court to decide on the amount.
On Sept 6, 2019, Lim filed the suit for damages, a front page apology and an injunction to prevent Raja Petra from repeating his allegations, contained in a series of articles under the heading “From the MACC Files” published on Feb 24 and March 15 the same year.
In his statement of claim, Lim sought exemplary damages on grounds that Raja Petra “must have obtained profit from the huge volume of readership on all the articles” and such profits might exceed the amount of damages that could be awarded to him.
Lim’s lawyers had attempted to serve the writ and statement of claim to Raja Petra by personal service at his last known address at Sungai Buloh, but the attempts were futile.