PUTRAJAYA (April 8): The Court of Appeal fixed November 11 to hear an appeal filed by Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision which refused to strike out a defamation suit filed by MCA over an allegation that the party had misused Government and public funds allocated for National Type Chinese Schools (SJKC).
Lawyer Guok Ngek Seong who acted for Lim told The Edge that he had filed the appeal on March 8.
The case came up for case management today before the Kuala Lumpur High Court. However, all the proceedings before the High Court will be postponed pending the outcome of the Court of Appeal, Guok said.
On Feb 27, High Court Judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim dismissed the application filed by Lim to strike out the suit on the basis that there were issues in the suit brought by MCA that should be ventilated in a full trial. He also ordered Lim to pay costs of RM2,000.
Lim filed an application to strike out the suit on Sept 12, 2017 on the grounds that MCA, as a political party, had no legal standing to sue an individual, citing English case law Goldsmith v Bhoyrul (1997) which provided that political parties cannot be claimants in defamation suits.
MCA as the plaintiff filed the suit on July 17, 2017, through its secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan by naming Lim as the sole defendant, seeking RM100 million in damages.
MCA claimed that the DAP lawmaker had issued a defamatory statement at Parliament lobby on March 15, 2017 which was later published in various print and digital media.
MCA also claimed that the defamatory words, among others, implied that the MCA had used the Government funds allocated for the schools and was involved in corruption, and had tarnished its reputation.
The plaintiff is seeking RM100 million in general and exemplary damages as well as an injunction to restrain the defendant from publishing, issuing and printing the defamatory words.
In Lim’s defence, he said as a people’s representative, he was entitled to question issues of public interest and seek answers on issues concerning the people.