Sale of Peel Avenue Land: Court rejects Lim Guan Eng’s suit


GEORGE TOWN – The High Court here today rejected the defamation suit filed by former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) against former Gerakan Youth head Jason Loo Jieh Sheng and two others in connection with an article on the sale of a piece of land in Peel Avenue to Island Hospital.

Judge Datuk Rosilah Yop also ordered Lim as the plaintiff to pay costs of RM50,000 each to Loo and two other defendants – The China Press Bhd and Guang Ming Ribao newspapers.

In her judgement, Rosilah said the plaintiff had failed to prove that the harsh defamation remarks made by Loo were published in the two newspapers.

“The three articles should have been translated into Malay which is the national language in line with Section 8 of the National Language Act 1963/67, which provides that the Malay Language should be used as the language of the court in Malaysia.

“In this case, the three articles which were said to be defamatory were not translated into Malay, so the plaintiff has failed to meet the provisions of Article 152 of the Federal Constitution which clearly states the position of the Malay language as the national language,” she said.

The judge said the three news articles were translated by the plaintiff’s second witness (freelance translator) from Mandarin into English, and the translator admitted that his translation was based on the online text and not facts (news published in the newspapers).

“The court found that the plaintiff failed to meet the claims, causing the case to be faulty and detrimental. The court rejected the claims as the plaintiff failed to prove that the defamatory remarks were made against defendant,” he said.

The three articles, after translation, were titled ‘Jason Loo: One Man Decide, Pakatan Harapan DAP-led State Government Run By Rule of Man’ was published by the China Press newspaper on May 29, 2017 while the article appeared on the same date in the Guan Ming newspaper, titled ‘Jason Loo Urges Lim Guan Eng to Explain Why Sell Lebuhraya Peel Land Prior to Gazette’.

A third article was published by the newspaper Kwong Wah Yit Poh on June 9, 2017 after it was translated, with the title ‘One Man Rule By Chief Minister of Penang.

Lim who is now Finance Minister, had filed three suits on Loo’s statement made in a press conference on May 29, 2017, on the sale of the land.

In February 2018, Guan Eng filed three defamation separate suits against Loo for ill-intent by making a false and defamatory statement, and The China Press Bhd and Guang Ming Ribao newspapers for publishing the statement.

Meanwhile, in a statement today, Lim said he decided to accept his lawyer’s advice on the outcome of the case which was decided on a technicality and not on the merits of whether the case was defamatory.