Media Statement by YB Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham
(30/4/2015 Thursday) the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur found The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad which in the publisher of Berita Harian newspaper and Ramli Bin Ibrahim guilty of defaming YB Nga Kor Ming, Member of Parliament for Taiping and YB Dato’Ngeh Koo Ham, Member of Parliament for Beruas and awarded them RM 150,000-00 in damages and costs.
The said judgment relates to a defamatory article written by Ramli Bin Ibrahim on the front page of Berita Harian dated 27/12/2012 just before the 13th General Election with the title ‘Hutan Sungai Relai gondol, Penduduk kesal tanah Kelantan diberi kepada pemimpin DAP’ (Sungai Relai Forest made bald. Residents unhappy Kelantan land given to DAP Leaders).
The Court found the following allegations to be false and maliciously made: -
(i) That we were given land by Kelantan Government in exchange for our agreement to allow Dato’ Seri Mohd Nizar Bin Jamaluddin to assume the Menteri Besar post of Perak in 2008.
(ii) That our company was involved in logging in the Hutan Simpan Sungai Relai Forest Reserve.
(iii) That our logging activities caused pollution including pollution to the Sungai Relai river and had caused hardship to the surrounding residents.
The said judgment confirmed what were stated in my earlier media statements.
a) That we were not given any land by the Kelantan Government. The acquisition of Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd which has a 10,526 acres joint venture land that was acquired by us together with about 100 shareholders was a commercial transaction purchased in the open market.
b) That neither our company nor any of us was involved in any logging.
c) That the above said company is involved only in the replanting of the said land and not involved in any form of logging.
d) Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd has been a very responsible company in replanting the said land. The environmental department (Jabatan Alam Sekitar) has by a letter dated 23/9/2014 recorded its appreciation to the company for complying with all the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements.
We would like to reiterate that we are 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. As elected representative and conscientious citizens, we felt duty bound to ensure our people are not misled by falsehood.
Dated this 1st May 2015
Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham
MP for Beruas
State Assemblyman for Sitiawan
Deputy Secretary General