The High Court today advised former Federal Territories minister Khalid Abdul Samad and FMT Media Sdn Bhd which runs the news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) and its former editor-in-chief to settle their legal dispute amicably.
Khalid who is Amanah strategic communications chief sued FMT and Abdar Rahman Koya over an alleged defamatory article regarding the post of the eighth Prime Minister involving former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Lawyer Mohamed Ashmeer Mohamed Ashrof who represented Khalid informed reporters that the court had asked for the parties involved to discuss possible ways of resolving the suit amicably.
“The court had asked for the suit to be settled but if it does not get resolved amicably, we will proceed with trial,” he said after the matter came up for case management in the chambers of judge Datin Rohani Ismail.
The trial dates, Ashmeer said had previously been set to proceed on July 1 and 2, next year.
He said the court had also fixed a date for case management on Dec 10.
Khalid filed the suit on June 23, claiming that FMT and Abdar Rahman who were the defendants had authored and published an article entitled “Khalid presses on, tell Dr M to make way for Anwar” on the news portal.
In authoring the article, Khalid claimed that the defendants had made reference to one of his Twitter posts on his Twitter account dated Feb 26, which was originally posted in Malay and then translated into English by the defendants.
He claimed that the defendants had translated the post into English unilaterally in their own words without first verifying it with him and as a result, the English translation had given a negative interpretation which was defamatory to him.
He alleged that the article had among others demanded for Dr Mahathir to resign his post as the Prime Minister or interim Prime Minister and that he had disrespected an experienced and high-ranking political figure.
Khalid further alleged that the article which contained words and statements which were defamatory, libellous, and calumnious, scandalous and untrue was still being openly circulated in the country and the world via the news portal’s website.
The former minister also claimed that on Feb 28, the defendants had unilaterally published a so-called disingenuous “Statement of Retraction” and apology without his approval.
Unsatisfied with the action, Khalid claimed that he rejected the apology.
He is now seeking for general, compensatory, aggravated and exemplary damages as well as an order requiring the defendants to issue and publish a statement of apology in the terms and manner agreed by him and in the media of his choice.
He is also seeking for an injunction to restrain the defendants either through themselves or others from diclosing, uttering, writing, publishing or distributing the article which contains similar negative effect or impact against or in relation to him. NST