Guan Eng to sue NSTP, Utusan over national secrets ‘leak’ claim

By Ida Lim
May 04, 2012

The newspapers had carried reports claiming Lim had passed national secrets to the Singapore government. — File picThe newspapers had carried reports claiming Lim had passed national secrets to the Singapore government. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — The DAP’s Lim Guan Eng said today he will sue New Straits Times Press (NSTP), Utusan Melayu Berhad and Perkasa for allegedly defaming him in news articles accusing him of leaking national secrets to Singapore’s top leaders.

The DAP secretary-general referred to “a false news report” carried by the pro-government publishers on October 2 last year in which the right-wing Malay movement claimed that Lim had alleged leaked national secrets at a dinner with senior leaders of Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

“I will be instructing my lawyers to proceed to file an action for defamation in the High Court against Perkasa, the New Straits Times Press and Utusan Melayu Berhad,” he said in a statement.

NSTP publishes New Sunday Times and Berita Minggu, while Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad publishes Mingguan Malaysia as their weekend editions, which had carried the allegations.

Lim said while NSTP and Utusan had apologised to corporate captains Datuk Mohamed Azman Yahya and Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan — both were similarly accused of spilling national secrets — for “their false and defamatory allegation”, the papers had not apologised for their reports against him.

He added that the papers “have refused, in spite of my lawyers’ requests, to pay any damages or publish any clarification or apology concerning the allegations against me.”

Lim, who is Penang chief minister, also justified the state government’s barring of Umno-controlled papers from covering its press conferences and state functions.

He described it as an “act of self-defence”, saying that the newspapers’ refusal to “abide by the basic ethics of truthful journalism” and “blatant fabrication of lies passed off as news” forced him to do so.

Lim said this following Australian senator Nick Xenophon’s decision today to sue the New Straits Times (NST) despite the daily’s apology and removal of a misleading news article from its website.

The NST had yesterday admitted to having falsely quoted Xenophon in its article on Wednesday as calling Islam instead of Scientology a “criminal organisation” during his 2009 speech in Australia’s Parliament.

Last December, the Penang High Court found Utusan Malaysia guilty of making “malicious”, defamatory and untruthful statements against Lim and ordered the Malay daily to pay damages.

The Bagan MP had filed a suit against Utusan for publishing allegedly defamatory words in an article titled “Kebiadapan Guan Eng (Guan Eng’s Rudeness)”.

In his statement of claim then, Lim said the words used, among others, were meant to portray him as a racist who objected to anything related to Malays.