Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali has demanded RM1 million in damages and an apology from Sin Chew Daily.
This was over its news report on Sept 1 citing Seputeh MP Teresa Kok’s doubts on whether Khairuddin was in Turkey on official business in July or if he was in “the Netherlands or England”.
The Chinese daily published the photo in an article when reporting on allegations that Khairuddin and family had gone on holiday overseas while Malaysia’s borders are closed for non-essential travel due to the pandemic.
That article carried a photograph of Khairuddin and his wife in the Netherlands, which his lawyers argued was taken in 2016.
According to Malay tabloid Kosmo, law firm Zulpadli & Edham said the photograph showed Khairuddin and his wife wearing winter clothes and pointed out their client went to Turkey during summer.
In view of this, they said Khairuddin had ordered them to take legal action against those who slandered or created a negative perception of him.
Sin Chew also posted the photo on its Facebook page, which caused it to be shared widely.
The report on Sin Chew’s website is no longer accessible.
Sin Chew has been given seven days to apologise and to provide a written undertaking not to slander Khairuddin again.
Approximately one hour after publishing the offending article, Sin Chew had published a separate article claiming that the photograph of Khairuddin in the Netherlands was taken in 2017.
Last month, Kok had exposed Khairuddin for breaking mandatory home quarantine rules after returning from Turkey.
After a public outcry, particularly over double standards, the authorities handed Khairuddin a RM1,000 fine, but he was not taken to court despite there being several precedents.
He is currently under police investigation for the breach.
When contacted, Khairuddin verified the legal demand while Sin Chew’s top editor refused to comment.
Khairuddin’s suit was filed on September 14.