Two DAP politicians withdraw appeal in defamation suit, High Court award of RM350,000 in damages stands

PUTRAJAYA — Two DAP politicians withdrew their appeals today against a High Court decision which ordered them to pay RM350,000 to former MCA secretary-general Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun for defamation.

Chew also withdrew her cross-appeal against the quantum of damages.

The Court of Appeal’s three-member bench comprising Justices Datuk Supang Lian, Datuk Hashim Hamzah and Datuk Wong Kian Kheong subsequently struck out the appeal by the DAP leaders and Chew’s cross-appeal with no order to costs.

“We thank parties for coming to a settlement today,” said Justice Supang who chaired the bench.

Earlier, lawyer Shahredzan Johan, representing Tony Pua and Yeo Bee Yin, told the court that his clients were withdrawing their appeal with no order to costs.

Chew’s lawyer, Rueben Mathiavaranam, confirmed the matter and also informed the court that his client was also withdrawing her cross-appeal with no order to costs.

On Nov 30 last year, the Shah Alam High Court ordered Pua, who is a former Damansara Member of Parliament, to pay RM200,000 and Yeo, who is a former energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister, to pay RM150,000 in general and aggravated damages to Chew after finding them liable for defaming her.

Rueben, when contacted by Bernama,  said that following the withdrawal of the appeals, the High Court decision stands.

“The amount ordered to be paid has been paid to us (his law firm) and held by us pending the outcome of the (appeal) hearing at the Court of Appeal. We are now free to release the said amount to our client,” he said.

In March 2018, Chew filed a defamation suit against Pua and Yeo over allegations that she had approved the sale of a piece of land to Selangor MCA below its market price.

 Yeo also made a statement on the issue in a Facebook video where she said the land was used for dragon fruit farming. Both Pua and Yeo made the statements in 2017.

The High Court judge had ruled that Chew, a former Petaling Jaya Member of Parliament and former deputy women, family and community development minister, had proved that the impugned statements were defamatory of her.

Judge Datuk Roslan Abu Bakar also found that Pua and Yeo never verified with the relevant authorities or documents whether Chew was actually a member of the district land committee.

The judge also found that the articles published in The Malay Mail Online, Free Malaysia Today and Nanyang Siang Pau had implied that Chew had used her position and influence in the district land committee to enable the acquisition of the land by MCA at below-market price.

The Court of Appeal panel was supposed to hear the appeal and cross-appeal today.

The court proceeding was conducted online. — BERNAMA

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