Businessmen demand RM30 million, apology from Lalitha for defamation

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The duo claimed Lalitha’s articles alluded that they were Azam’s or his brothers’ proxies.

TMI

Journalist Lalitha Kunaratnam has been served with letters of demand by two businessmen who claimed that she had defamed them in her articles about alleged business ties with a top anti-graft chief and his family.

Lim Kok Han and Mohd Aswadi Mat Zain are seeking damages of RM20 million and RM10 million respectively, as well as an apology within 14 days.

They also want Lalitha to delete her articles that had defamed them. Failure to comply will result in them initiating legal proceedings against Lalitha.

The letters of demand were served this morning by Messrs Gordon-Lew & Co.

The issue at hand is over Lalitha’s two-part article published on the Independent News Service website titled Business ties among MACC leadership: How deep does it go?

In the articles, she had written about alleged business ties of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki, including those involving his brothers and associates.

She had also revealed Azam’s shares ownership in two public-listed companies.

Azam had denied any wrongdoing and filed a defamation suit against Lalitha, demanding that the journalist apologise for the reports, issue a public apology, and pay damages amounting to RM10 million.

In their respective letters of demand, both Lim and Aswadi said Lalitha’s two articles alluded that they were Azam’s or his brothers’ proxies, and had been using Azam’s position and power as the MACC chief commissioner for their own benefit.

Lim also said that Lalitha was wrong in writing that he was director, former director and shareholder of several companies where the reality was that most of the companies were already dormant and/or struck off.

This included companies such as Definex Sdn Bhd, Primavest Sdn Bhd, Tadika Auza Sdn Bhd, and Andy Noodles House.

They said that Lalitha’s statements on them in her articles were untrue, motivated by malice and distortion of facts.

“It is evident that the publication of the articles and/or the said statements were done wilfully with the sole intention to injure the good name, reputation, and the public perception towards our client being an independent businessman,” said the demand letters.

They said that the damages they were seeking were to cover for the injury caused to their good name, reputation, and good standing within their business industries and the public. – TMI


Earlier reports:

Feb 11, Report filed against Lalitha in Sentul marked as ‘no further action’

Feb 11, Lawyer: MACC risks contempt of court with report against whistleblower

Feb 10, Lalitha accused of lying over job status

Feb 4, Whistleblower ready to prove in court claims linked to Azam’s shareholding