KUALA LUMPUR, 3 April 2009: Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi was awarded RM1 million in libel damages over articles published by Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin in his blog last year.
High Court senior assistant registrar Nor Hatini Abdul Hamid ordered Raja Petra to pay RM500,000 in general damages, RM300,000 in aggravated damages and RM200,000 in exemplary damages to Abdul Azim.
Nor Hatini awarded the sum in her chambers yesterday after hearing submissions by Abdul Azim’s counsel Sunil Abraham for the assessment of damages in the libel suit.
Sunil told reporters today that the court made the decision after Raja Petra failed to enter an appearance in the civil proceedings and also failed to file the statement of defence.
Abdul Azim, who is also Bukit Bintang Umno division chief, obtained a judgement in default on 8 Aug last year.
In his writ of summons filed via Messrs Zul Rafique, Abdul Azim said that on 9 Feb last year, Raja Petra authored, published and caused to be published on the Malaysia Today weblog at http://www.malaysia-today.net/2008/content/view/2535/84/ an article entitled A Scam By Any Other Name, Smells Just as Foul and on 19 Feb last year, Raja Petra authored an article entitled The New Member of Parliament for Putrajaya, Azim Zabidi.
Abdul Azim, in his statement of claim filed on 4 March last year, stated that his counsel had written to Raja Petra, demanding an apology and an undertaking not to repeat the defamatory words mentioned in two articles.
He also claimed that the meanings attributed to the first and second articles as well as the comments were untrue and false and had defamed him in the eyes of his peers and members of the public in his personal and professional capacity.
Abdul Azim also said that the articles were published with the intention of embarrassing him by way of his character, business reputation and goodwill.
However, Abdul Azim said Raja Petra failed to respond to the letter of demand. — Bernama