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Utusan Melayu loses appeal to strike out seputeh MP’s defence

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PUTRAJAYA, March 13 – Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd today lost its appeal to strike out Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok’s defence in its defamation suit against her, over her comment on food served to her while being under the Internal Security Act (ISA), in 2008.

A three-member Court of Appeal panel led by Justice Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim unanimously dismissed Utusan Melayu’s appeal against a High Court’s refusal to allow the company’s application to strike out the opposition politician’s defence.
Following the decision, the case would go for full trial at the High Court.

utusanThe panel, also comprising Justices Datuk Anatham Kasinater and Datuk Mah Weng Kwai ordered Utusan Melayu to pay RM10,000 in legal costs to Kok for today’s court proceedings.  In her decision, Justice Zaharah said the High Court was not in error when it dismissed Utusan Melayu’s application to strike out Kok’s defence.

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She said the court was constraint to uphold the High Court’s decision as it (court) found that the company’s application filed to strike out Kok’s defence was not properly framed.  On Aug 29, 2011, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur dismissed Utusan Melayu’s application to strike out Kok’s defence after ruling that she had an arguable case in defending herself.

In February 2009, Utusan Melayu served a writ of summons and statement of claim on Kok, 49, the Selangor DAP chief, for allegedly uttering defamatory statements about its Utusan Malaysia Malay-language daily.  In the statement of claim, Utusan Melayu said Kok had made alleged defamatory statements on Sept 22, 2008, when she claimed that the daily had
distorted her statements to the national media and in her own blog, about the food served to her while being detained under the ISA, in 2008.

Utusan Melayu is seeking general, special, aggravated and punitive damages as well as cost and any relief deemed fit by the court.  Utusan Melayu’s lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah earlier submitted that Kok’s statement of defence did not disclose sufficient particulars.  However, Kok’s counsel Sangeet Kaur said Kok provided enough particulars in her defence, which was fair comment.

BERNAMA