Gov’t appeals against RM11.2m in damages awarded to The Edge

Graphic by TMR

The government has appealed for damages amounting to more than RM11.2 million awarded to publishing firm The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd for loss of income due to the suspension of its two publications by the Home Ministry (KDN) for three months in 2015, following several reports by the portal on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue.

Senior Federal Counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching, who represented the KDN secretary-general and the Home Minister as respondents, informed this after the case management in the chambers of High Court Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan today, which was also attended by lawyer Raja Eileen Soraya Raja Aman.

“We think that no damages ought to be awarded. That is the government’s position.

“We want to have a look at how the deputy registrar assessed the damages and what was her (deputy registrar) consideration,” she said adding that the publisher (The Edge) is also appealing on the dismissal of constitutional and aggravated damages it sought for which the registrar did not allow.

Loke said her office would seek the grounds of judgment regarding the damages decided upon by Deputy Registrar of High Court Norazlin Othman, before the appeal was heard.

Raja Eileen, meanwhile said, the court had set March 26 for further case management.

On Dec 17 last year, the High Court ordered the KDN secretary-general and the Home Minister as respondents to pay RM11,260,350.00 to The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily over their three-month suspension from July 27, 2015.

The court also ordered both respondents to pay four per cent in interest beginning July 27, 2015 until the full settlement of the case.

This was following the Federal Court’s decision on August 9, 2017, which ruled that The Edge could seek damages from the Home Minister for the loss of income suffered on the suspension of its two publications after dismissing the Home Minister’s and the KDN secretary-general’s appeal to set aside the Court of Appeal decision which allowed The Edge to seek damages from both parties.

With the Federal Court’s decision, the case was returned to the High Court for assessment of damages.

KDN suspended the publication of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 27, 2015, following their reports over the 1MDB issue.

However, the directive was revoked by the High Court on Sept 21, 2015, allowing The Edge’s application for a judicial review to challenge the directive.

The High Court also ordered for the assessment of damages for losses suffered by The Edge.

On August 30, 2016, the Court of Appeals dismissed KDN’s appeal against the High Court’s decision for the assessment of damages.