PEGUAM NEGARA MALAYSIA v. MKINI DOTCOM SDN BHD & ANOR

[2021] 2 MLRA 434

PEGUAM NEGARA MALAYSIA v. MKINI DOTCOM SDN BHD & ANOR
Federal Court, Putrajaya
Rohana Yusuf PCA, Azahar Mohamed CJM, Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim CJSS, Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Nallini Pathmanathan, Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Abdul Rahman Sebli FCJJ
[Civil Application No: 08(L)-4-06-2020(W)]
19 February 2021

JUDGMENT

Rohana Yusuf PCA (Majority):

Introduction

[1] The Honourable Attorney General of Malaysia ('AG'), brought this contempt proceeding against an online news portal, Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd (Company No 489718-U) ('Malaysiakini') as the 1st respondent and its Editor-in-Chief, Gan Diong Keng ('Steven Gan') as the 2nd respondent.

[2] To draw the chronological background to the Application before us, it all began when Malaysiakini published an article entitled "Musa Aman acquitted after prosecution applies to drop all charges" on 9 June 2020. In gist, it pertains to the acquittal of the former Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman of 46 charges of corruption and money laundering. Coincidently on the very same day, the Office of the Chief Registrar issued a press release by the Chief Justice for all Courts to be fully operational from 1 July 2020, in line with the announcement that the country was moving into the recovery phase of the Movement Control Order. Malaysiakini republished from Bernama that press release as an article entitled "CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1".

[3] Following that press release, the following comments ('impugned comments') by third party online subscribers appeared on Malaysiakini's website on 9 June 2020:

(i) Ayah Punya kata:

The High Courts are already acquitting criminals without any trial. The country has gone to the dogs;

(ii) GrayDeer0609:

Kangaroo courts fully operational? Musa Aman 43 charges fully acquitted. Where is law and order in this country? Law of the Jungle? Better to defund the judiciary!

(iii) Legit:

This judge is a shameless joker. The judges are out of control and the judicial system is completely broken. The crooks are being let out one by one in an expeditious manner and will running wild looting the country back again. This Chief Judge is talking about opening of the courts. Covid 19 slumber kah!

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