Former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s defamation suit against Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd was settled today after the newspaper company’s feature editor, Zulkifli Jalil, apologised to him for the 2015 publication of the alleged defamatory article.
Zulkifli, in his statement of apology, expressed regret over the publication of the article and withdrew the contents in the said article titled “Pengundi Atas Pagar Jadi Penentu?” which was published by the newspaper on April 10, 2015.
"Utusan Malaysia sincerely apologises to Yang Amat Berhormat (YAB) Lim Guan Eng for the mistake, which was unintentional, and for any discomfort or embarrassment caused as a result of the article’s publication.
"Utusan Malaysia also promises not to publish or cause to publish the alleged defamatory words again,” he said when reading the statement in an open court before High Court judge Rosilah Yop.
Also present were lawyer M Reza Hassan, representing Utusan and Zulkifli, and Lim, who was accompanied by his lawyer, N Mureli.
Lim then accepted the apology and Mureli requested the court to make an order as to cost and damages.
The court fixed Oct 18 for Mureli to submit a written submission on the quantum of general damages and costs, which the court will decide on Nov 23.
Lim filed the suit against Utusan and Zulkifli as the first and second defendants over the article published on April 10, 2015, alleging that Penang’s wakaf land was under his purview and control.
Outside the courtroom, Lim said the newspaper’s apology and withdrawal of the article provided proof that he had never interfered in Islamic affairs in the state when he was chief minister.