The defamation suit filed by Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim (above, second left) against Pertubuhan Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president Azwanddin Hamzah was resolved amicably at the High Court today.
The suit was over alleged defamatory remarks made by Azwanddin in linking the minister in the land dispute involving the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple in Seafield, Subang Jaya.
Lawyer S.N.Nair, representing Kok, said both parties agreed to resolve the matter in an out of court settlement after Azwanddin agreed to submit an open apology in three newspapers, namely Sinar Harian, The Star and Sin Chew Daily.
He said Azwanddin was also required to retract statements on the issue which he posted on the social media.
"The amount of settlement cannot be disclosed to the media,” he told reporters after today’s proceeding which was held in chambers before judicial commissioner Rohani Ismail, who recorded the terms of the settlement. Also present was Azwanddin’s lawyer, Sarah Abishegam.
Kok, who is Seputeh Member of Parliament, and Azwanddin (above) were also present at the proceeding today, which was earlier fixed to hear the case.
However, Kok was seen leaving the court before the proceeding ended.
Meanwhile, Kok, in a statement to the media, said she was very happy that Azwanddin had made a full public apology and undertook to make a full retraction of all the impugned statements he made about her in wrongfully linking her to One City Development Sdn Bhd which was implicated in the unfortunate Seafield temple incident in November last year.
“I have always, from the very beginning, vehemently denied any link to One City and still do. Despite that, Azwanddin still linked me to it and I had no choice but to sue him to clear my name and seek vindication,” she said.
Kok filed the suit last Jan 8 and named Azwanddin in his personal capacity as the first defendant and as JMM president, as second defendant.
In her statement of claim, Kok said that on Dec 25 last year, at a rally held at Dataran Seni Klang, Selangor, Azwanddin, as the president of JMM, had made a speech which, among others, contained defamatory words and lies about her.
She contended that the speech, in its ordinary and natural meaning, was understood to mean, among others, that she was a racist, had abused her power as a minister and acted unfairly, as well as being a dishonest minister, with no ethics and no principles.
She further claimed that the defendant had caused the publication of the speech with the intention and motive of defaming her in her personal and official capacity, was mala fide and with malicious intent.
The minister contended that the speech was published with the purpose of inciting the public, to create ill-will towards her and was conveyed irresponsibly to the public for cheap publicity, to create chaos and possible physical and other harm to her.
She had sought general, aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction to restrain the defendants, either through agents and/or any other persons, from further uttering, writing or publishing the same speech, and also costs.