Friday, March 28, 2008

Of Dust and Million Ringgit Libel Suit on RPK, PKR Sites

2008 Dust Still Lingers
It is a messy day for me after reading a number of news and blog entries on Malaysian politics in Malaysiakini and various news spots . It seems like the 2008 election dust has not settled down.

There is nothing really profound to read upon, only a massive messy state of affairs. Most of the state governments have been installed but as for the plans and mechanisms on respective states, everything is still in a blur, except for Penang and Kelantan.

As for UMNO, the main event being discussed is the internal polling. The latest official date reported is December. Unofficial sources rumoured April. Whatever that is, we shall see a big showdown on Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and changes to the party itself. It was also rumoured that all party posts could be contestable.

Million Ringgit Libel Suit
Meanwhile, as a blogger, I feel a certain amount of distraught and displeasure over a case of a million ringgit suit against Raja Petra Kamarudin, the web owner of Malaysia Today and Suara Keadilan. According to the post, Online writer, opposition paper slam libel verdict , University Utara Malaysia and its vice-chancellor Nordin Kardi had filed a lawsuit against Raja Petra Kamarudin, who runs the popular Malaysia Today website, and Suara Keadilan, the newspaper of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), over a piece that alleged Mr Nordin had plagiarised an article. The High Court in Kedah ruled on Wednesday that Raja Petra must pay RM4 million (S$1.8 million) for publishing the defamatory article on his website in 2006. The court also ordered the PKR newspaper to pay RM3 million for reprinting the same article.

There is a lengthy and detailed explanation from the blog Muhtar Suhaili As-Sarawaki. The current stand of Raja Petra and PKR on this matter is "civil disobedience".

Opinion on the suit
Let's take a look at the meaning of Libel according to Wiktionary.

libel (plural libels)
1) A written (notably as handbill) or pictorial statement which unjustly seeks to damage someone's reputation.
2) (uncountable) The act or crime of displaying such a statement publicly.

It shall be made clear the common reason for the initiation of a libel suit by a prosecuting person is to protect his/her reputation or any associated parties. Most of the time, if the libel has become widespread, famous and obviously talked about in many places by many people until it gives an impression that the libel may be real and only then the person affected will consider making a case out of it.

Honestly, I did not know who is Dr. Nordin Kardi before this. Neither do I know he is associated with UUM or the existence of such alleged libel. I mean, for God's sake the article was in 2006. Today is 2008. It's been years. I have been surfing Malaysia Today for many years, never stopped since 2004 and I can't even remember such article even after the suit is being filed.

Personally, I think this libel suit is certainly "interesting" because it made me pay attention on Dr. Nordin Kardi, UUM and the article mentioned. Ironic, isn't it?

I could not recall the so-called libel before this libel suit. Now everybody knows. Do you feel it is a much talked about affair in blogs today (after the libel) rather than in the past? Ironic, isn't it? Smells strange, doesn't it?

I leave it for the readers of this blog to think about this.


Anonymous said...

It's libel/slander if the publication of the defamatory statement will tend to lower a person in the estimation of right thingking member of the society generally of which tends to shun or avoid that person. The victim has the right to commence any action which is actionble per se. RPK's action of not responding to the libel suit is to my humble opinion arrogant and disrespectful of our judicial process (or whathever it's left)..

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,

Then that is really weird that a 2006 event is only pursued in 2008? How does it justify that it should be millions of ringgit?

Anonymous said...

Our judicial system is not perfect, rather it is far from it. It take years to get your case heard, and justice delayed is of course justice denied..this is something the government as a whole need to address..a holistic improvement to provide justice. Whether a case merits a hearing is a question of fact, and denial of this right is definitely against the principle of natural justice. I am not saying that RPK deserve this case, as a matter of fact, I am truly amazed that the amount could be so huge. I think RPK has (and will pursue) further legal recourse in this matter, but the fact that he did not respond earlier will possibly affect his case...anyway it's just my two cents

And lastly, as much as we are apalled by by some of the things we see about our judiciary, we must not give up on it...

Julian said...

It's odd that the author of the article, Muhtar Suhaili, whose article RPK then reposted in Malaysia Today, is not being pursued also... at least that's what I can work out from the link you provide