MonSpace wins suit, Kepong MP ordered to pay RM2 million in damages

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The Kuala Lumpur High Court today ordered Kepong member of parliament Lim Lip Eng to pay RM2 million to MonSpace (M) Sdn Bhd founder Datuk Seri Jessy Lai Cha Suang and the company for defamation.

Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir made the decision after allowing a suit by Lai and MonSpace as the plaintiffs against Lim, as the defendant.

Akhtar ordered the defendant to pay RM500,000 and RM1 million to Lai and the company, respectively, as well as aggravated damages of RM500,000 to both the plaintiffs besides a cost of RM250,000.

The judge also ordered the defendant to make a public apology in all vernacular newspapers and social media within seven days after the judgment was perfected.

In his brief judgment, Akhtar said the court found that the plaintiffs had proven their claims against the defendant for defamation and that his statements had tarnished the reputation of the plaintiffs.

He said in the statement of claim, the plaintiff had mentioned five instances in the statements made by the defendant which were contended to be defamatory.

He said the statements clearly connoted that the plaintiffs had bribed senior government officials, carried out illegal activities and cheated 19 Chinese nationals.

He said in the court’s view, the defendant acted like a vigilante against the plaintiffs in making these accusations.

Akhtar said the court also noted that the defendant took to the streets with 19 Chinese national to protests against the plaintiffs.

“This was also unwarranted…the defendant was given an opportunity to redeem himself and during the case management of this case, the plaintiffs only asked for an apology to be made but the defendant failed to do that,” he added.

Back in 2019, the media reported that Monspace and its founder filed a civil action against Lim over an allegation that the company was involved in an investment scheme that failed to pay returns as promised to investors.

The MP’s statements, published in the English and Chinese media, had implied that she was a dishonest person.

In that same year, the media also reported that a few of the company’s founders were also charged in the criminal court over an alleged pyramid scheme.

The court today ruled that Lim should have allowed the investigations to be carried out after raising the issues.

It said that Lim went beyond his duty as MP in making the accusations against the plaintiffs and that as an MP, he has the duty to verify the information and cannot be trigger-happy.

The court ruled that Lim should not have gone with the 19 Chinese nationals to the plaintiff’s office.

Lai claimed that Lim’s statements had pressured the authorities, including the police, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, to take action against her.

Lawyer Ivanpal Singh Grewal represented Lai and the company while counsel Guok Ngek Seong acted for Lim.

Meanwhile, Lim has filed an appeal over today’s decision.

After today’s decision, Lim responded by taking to Facebook and expressed his determination to fight the case in the Court of Appeal.

“2017, I stood up and spoke out. 2023, I was defeated in High Court. Undeterred. Appeal filed. Fight we must,” he said in a posting.