Saturday, April 26, 2014

NSTP & Sylvia Looi guilty of defaming MP for Beruas‏

Court finds The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad and Sylvia Looi Lee Phing guilty of defaming Ngeh Koo Ham, member of Parliament for Beruas in an article prior to the 13th General Election

Yesterday(25/04/2014-Friday) evening the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur found The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad and Sylvia Looi Lee Phing guilty of defaming me and awarded a sum of RM200,000 in damages and RM15,000 costs to be paid by the defendants to me.

The said judgment relates to a defamatory article titled [DAP in danger of losing Beruas] written by Sylvia Looi Lee Phing and published in the New Sunday Times on 25/11/2012 in the run up to the 13th General Election.

I would like to reiterate that I am for media freedom but not the freedom to spread falsehood. The spread of falsehood misleads the people and it is dangerous for the public to be misled by falsehood. As an elected representative and as a conscientious citizen, it is my duty to ensure that the people are not misled by falsehood.

The said article contain many falsehoods which include the following:
(i) I hardly show up in my Beruas constituency.
(ii) I was chased away by villagers when I visited an Indian Estate.
(iii) I do not attend religious events organised by temples because I am a Christian.

The said article caused great damage to my reputation as the Member of Parliament for Beruas. The Defendants have presented me as an irresponsible Member of Parliament who does not visit my Parliamentary Constituency, does not care for my constituents and that I am a religious bigot.

The above accusations were untrue. I stay in the Beruas Constituency and I have a legal office and 3 service centres in the constituency serving the people. I was never chased away in any of my constituents and though I am a Christian, I attend functions at mosques and temples as an elected representative of the people.

I have given the defendants ample opportunity to apologize and make necessary corrections but they have adamantly refused to do so.

I hope the above said decision will help promote more responsible journalism and Malaysians will be able to live in a healthier information environment.

Dated this 26th day of April 2014.

Ngeh Koo Ham
Deputy Secretary General of DAP Malaysia
Member of Parliament for Beruas
State Assemblyman for Sitiawan

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