Court orders Tajuddin to pay RM120k to Khalid, KiniTV in libel case

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The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal for former Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman to pay RM120,000 in legal costs to former Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad and video portal KiniTV.

A three-person bench chaired by M Nantha Balan and comprised of member judges Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali and Choo Kah Sing unanimously allowed the appeal by Khalid and KiniTV during open-court proceedings this morning.

The appeal is linked to the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling last year that dismissed Tajuddin’s defamation suit against the two appellants but did not make any order on costs.

Nantha ruled that the lower court only gave a brief explanation of why it did not award costs to any party and did not give full grounds over its justification for not awarding costs in the matter.

The appellate bench then directed Tajuddin to pay RM60,000 costs to each of the two appellants, namely Khalid and KiniTV.

The costs are for trial at the High Court, leave to appeal before the Court of Appeal, as well as the actual appeal before the appellate court.

On Feb 22 last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed Tajuddin’s defamation action against Khalid, KiniTV and English daily News Straits Times (NST).

The lawsuit is linked to a series of press conferences regarding a 2016 incident where Tajuddin allegedly referred to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok in Parliament as the only woman with “Kok”, and Khalid purportedly responded by calling him “sial”.

On Feb 22, 2017, Tajuddin, then-deputy agriculture and agro-based minister, filed a suit against Khalid over the latter’s press conference outside the Dewan Rakyat shortly after the incident.

Tajuddin also sued KiniTV Sdn Bhd – a subsidiary of Malaysiakini – and The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd over their coverage of Khalid’s press conference.

In dismissing the defamation suit, then judicial commissioner Latifah Mohd Tahar (who has since been elevated to a High Court judge) did not make any order as to costs, citing it was because the case was of public interest.

Tajuddin allegedly made the disparaging remarks in 2016.

Lawyers Sankara Nair and K Shanmuga represented Khalid and KiniTV, while counsel Hasnal Rezua Merican appeared for Tajuddin.

NST did not appeal to the Court of Appeal over the costs issue. – Malaysiakini