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Karpal sues Utusan for RM10 million

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Sept 2008: Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament Karpal Singh has filed a RM10 million suit against Utusan Melayu (M) Sdn Bhd over a defamatory article on his comments on Islam.

The writ of summons was filed at the Civil High Court registry in the Jalan Duta Court Complex today through his law firm, Karpal Singh & Co.

In his statement of claim, Karpal, who is also a lawyer, claimed the article entitled DAP diingat jangan bakar perasaan Melayu (DAP reminded not to inflame sentiments of Malays) published on 25 Aug 2008 in Utusan Malaysia, had stated that he made the comments on Islam in his welcoming speech at the 15th DAP National Congress held on the previous day (24 Aug).

He claimed the defamatory words were understood to mean, among others, that Karpal was a politician bent on creating ill-will among the different communities in the country, was absolutely false and malicious and were intended to destroy his professional and political careers.

The DAP national chairman said he had consistently maintained in his public speeches and during his membership of Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat for the last 26 years that Islam was the official religion of the country as provided under Article 3 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

Karpal said he gave notice to Utusan for retraction and apology without prejudice to his right to commence legal proceedings against the Bahasa Malaysia daily newspaper.

He stated that it would be in Utusan’s best interests to comply with his demand for mitigation purposes on damages which could ultimately be ordered against the newspaper by the court.

He said Utusan complied with his demand and had published an article entitled Ralat on 26 Aug, retracting and giving its unconditional apology to him and accepted that the words complained of, had no basis.

Karpal noted that the publication of the defamatory words by Utusan on the eve of the polling day of the Permatang Pauh by-election parliamentary seat was to defame him in his capacity as a Pakatan Rakyat coalition leader, with a view to ensure that de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim lost in the by-election.

He sought RM10 million in general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages, interest, costs and any relief deemed proper by the court. – Bernama

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