16 August 2011
Felda loses RM200m suit against former deputy minister
Felda has lost its RM200 million defamation suit against former Land and Co-operative Development Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong, according to a court judgment today.
The federal land development agency and its investment arm Felda Global Ventures Holding Sdn Bhd lost their defamation case and were ordered to pay costs to the former Gerakan leader who joined PKR after the 2008 general election.
Felda had claimed in its filing on January 25 that Dr Tan implied it was corrupt and committed legal offences in an issue of Suara Keadilan published on June 22 last year.
But High Court judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof ruled today that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that the PKR disciplinary chief had said any defamatory words.
She ordered Felda to pay RM70,000 in costs to Dr Tan who in turn has to cough up RM30,000 for a preliminary point he raised earlier in the suit.
In his statement of defence, Dr Tan admitted to giving an interview to Suara Keadilan reporter Faizal Zakaria but insisted he did not defame the two plaintiffs.
He claimed that what he said was true and was published based on qualified privilege, which permitted him as a former deputy minister in charge of the federal authority to relay such information to his party organ.
Felda had brought the suit over Suara Keadilan’s cover story in Malay titled “Kontroversi,” which continued on page three with the heading “RM662 construction only involved three individuals.”
The plaintiffs had alleged that the article defamed them as it implied the repossession and construction of Menara Felda on prime land in the capital’s “Golden Triangle” would benefit cronies.
Dr Tan had responded that it was fair comment on the plaintiffs’ financial standing, expenditure, management and activities made in the public interest and did not defame the plaintiffs.
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider later, Dr Tan explained that the judge had dismissed the case based on a technicality.
“None of Felda’s witnesses could prove that I said what was written in Suara Keadilan,” he said, adding that Faizal, who interviewed him for the article, was not subpoenaed as a witness.
However, Felda had filed another RM200 million suit against Suara Keadilan over the same article last year which is still pending.
Felda’s lawyers Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin and Mahinder Singh Dulku said they would seek instructions on whether to file an appeal.
BN govt will ask GLC to talk peace with crony Tajudin Ramli, but have war with Dr Tan of opposition! What a hypocrite!
he plundering started in 1983- BMF , then MAS n now billion dollar PKFZ scandal. we are progressing to the billion dollar league, FANTASTIC under BERSIHLAH NEGARA ( BN )
$70,000 is alot of money. Felda could have used this sum of money to help its settlers. The No.1 man helming Felda was once charged & convicted of corruption. Felda should be managed by a professional and not by a politician(s).
FELDA will be next GLC plundered by the BN administration.Your 200mil lawsuit figure was just plucked from the sky.So why is the govt so afraid of the billion dollar counter suit by Tajuddinwhen Axiata or MAS has the facts and a strong case ?
The truth will prevail !!
FELDA was once the brightest spot in the country. Its initial ideal was very noble and brought alot of benefit to rural malays. Only recently when some govt agencies (R*SDA) started to become businessman, then they see FELDA as a super big ATM machine. UMNO knows with so many settlements and families, stealing 1k from each family will not be noticible so fertiliser kena hantam, replanting kena hentam, buy crushing machinery kena hentam, buy computer kena hentam, buy airticket kena hentam, for all you know buy plastic bag also kena hentam. Now days, FELDA settler are very poor, most of the youth there takes drugs and very in debt with the kedai runcit in the settlement.
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