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Taib Mahmud mahu saman Malaysiakini

Sarawak CM to sue Malaysiakini

Malaysiakini (excerpts - see full reporti) - Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has demanded malaysiakini to remove several articles concerning accusations of corruption allegedly linked to him and his family.

In the letter which was hand-delivered late yesterday to the malaysiakini office in Kuala Lumpur’s Bangsar Utama, Taib identified eight articles which he claimed were defamatory.

It stated that the published articles “amount to a very serious libel” against Taib and has caused him “considerable distress and embarrassment”.

“These baseless allegations have lowered our client’s reputation in the estimation of the public and exposed him to hatred, contempt and ridicule.”

“All the allegations made against our client are false and your attack against our client is wholly unjustified,” added the two-paged letter.

The letter also stressed that should malaysiakini fail to provide a satisfactory response to the demands, legal action will be taken.

Malaysiakini to fight the lawsuit

Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan said the online news website intends to fight the law suit.

“Over the past seven years, we have published numerous reports on corruption. Malaysiakini is not in the business of apologising every time we report on such scandals. As journalists, we have a duty to report on such matters, which are of public interest,” he added.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had last Thursday said that the ACA could investigate the allegations if a report is lodged.

However, Gan said ACA need not wait for a report to be filed to launch a probe on the matter.

“In any case, now that reports have been lodged, there’s no excuse for ACA not to open an investigation on Taib," he added.

According to Gan, the law suit was aimed at muzzling malaysiakini.

“If by filing the law suit, Taib hopes to intimidate us, he is dead wrong. When we go to court, we have a long list of witnesses whom we plan to call - starting with the ACA and Japan’s tax authorities,” he said. “This could turn out to be the mother of all court battles.”

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