Former IGP Hanif apologises to Kit Siang, defamation suit settled

Former IGP Hanif apologises to Kit Siang, defamation suit settled
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): Former inspector-general of police (IGP) Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar today apologised to DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang over a statement he made against the politician at Konvensyen Keramah Bangsa organised by Universiti Teknologi MARA on Sept 6, 2018.

The apology was made in the High Court before the start of the scheduled hearing of the suit filed by the DAP veteran and a counterclaim by Hanif before High Court Judicial Commissioner Quay Chew Soon, who recorded the settlement and consent order.

Kit Siang, who is also the Gelang Patah Member of Parliament, also in a statement accepted Hanif's apology and retracted the statement he made on his blog on Sept 7, 2018 and also a related tweet as part of the settlement.

Syarikat Sinar Karangkraf Sdn Bhd, which is the publisher of Sinar Harian, was also named as a defendant in the suit, and the organisation was represented by its executive editor Ruzy Adila Idris.

Hanif read in a statement: "I hereby express my unreserved apology for the statements I made about Lim Kit Siang during the convention on Sept 6, 2018. I unconditionally retract my said statements in their entirety.

"I confirm that Lim Kit Siang's arrest in 1969 was not on the basis that he called for Malaysia to be divided on racial lines and further confirmed that he never suggested that."

Kit Siang, meanwhile, in accepting the apology and retraction said: "I express regret that this unfortunate incident occurred and retract in entirety my statement dated Sept 7, 2018 against Hanif on my blog and on the Roketkini website.

"I also retract in entirety my tweet dated Sept 7, 2018," the DAP leader said.

Kit Siang was represented by counsel Sangeet Kaur Deo, while Datuk Muralee Menon appeared for Hanif.

Sinar Harian also apologised for its reports dated Sept 6 and 11, 2018 for two articles quoting Hanif, and would publish its apology by Sept 25.

Executive editor Ruzy read the open apology for the erroneous and incorrect reports that were published on the two dates.

“We admit that we erroneously reported that the plaintiff (Kit Siang) wanted Malaya to be divided into two — that is the East Coast for the Malays and the West Coast for the Chinese. We regret the publication of the sensitive statements without proper verification.

“Hence, we withdraw the two reports dated Sept 6 and 11, 2018,” Ruzy added.

In Kit Siang's statement of claim, he alleged that the defamatory words, among others, intended to mean that he planned to instruct DAP to separate Peninsular Malaysia into two parts based on race, and to split the Malay and Chinese communities.

Kit Siang also claimed that the second defendant in the suit (Sinar Harian) acted maliciously by publishing the defamatory words.

As such, he was demanding that the defendant submit an apology and withdraw the defamatory words in addition to seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages, as well as an injunction order to prevent the defendant or its agent from repeating or republishing the defamatory words.

Surin Murugiah