Party takes Lim to court over Tanjung Pinang land sale remarks
GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan is suing Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over allegations made on the sale of a Tanjung Pinang plot of land, which was reportedly sold for a minimal premium of RM1 per square foot (psf) by Gerakan.
The party, through its secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng, filed the defamation suit in a George Town court yesterday and named Lim as the sole defendant.
The party is seeking general damages, exemplary damages, aggravated damages, costs, interests, reliefs and for Lim to publish an apology.
In the statement of claim made available to the press, the party said Lim had allegedly uttered defamatory remarks against Gerakan through reports carried by several social media platforms, including media statements and articles.
According to the statement of claim, one publication reported Lim as alleging that the previous Barisan Nasional administration had sold a plot of prime land in Tanjung Pinang for a minimal premium of RM1 psf.
The report in an online portal article dated March 17, 2013, claimed the previous administration led by Gerakan had approved the reclamation of 940 acres (380.4ha) at RM1 psf, with 10% of the land to be given to the state government.
Liang, accompanied by counsel Datuk Baljit Singh and other Gerakan members, claimed that Lim’s statements had painted an impression that the previous leadership under former chief minister Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon had disregarded the interests of Penangites by selling the land below market price.
Taking action: Liang (right) leaving the George Town Court with Baljit (second from left) and other Gerakan members after filing the suit.
Asked why Gerakan had waited so long before filing the suit, Liang said it was because people had started to believe Lim’s statements.
“When he repeated the accusations, some people started to believe them. I think it is a serious form of defamation. That is why we have to take action,” he told a press conference after filing the suit.
Further asked why Koh did not file the suit, Liang said Koh had already retired but could be a witness to the suit.
At a press conference later, Lim said the suit was filed as political capital in view of the upcoming general election.
“They are suing me four years after I made the statement. Usually, a lawsuit is done within the shortest time possible and not after four years. I will leave the matter to my lawyers and let the court decide.
“I will also ask my lawyers whether it is possible for a state government to sue for defamation, as usually defamation refers to defaming an individual and not a government,” he told reporters after the investiture ceremony at Dewan Sri Pinang here.
Source: The Star/ANN