[2024] 1 MLRA 365
Court of Appeal, Putrajaya
Hadhariah Syed Ismail, M Gunalan, Azmi Ariffin JJCA
[Civil Appeal No: W-02 (W)-949-05-2022]
Hadhariah Syed Ismail, M Gunalan, Azmi Ariffin JJCA


Hadhariah Syed Ismail JCA:


[1] The appellant (plaintiff) brought an action for defamation against the respondent (defendant) in relation to words written and published by the respondent in an online news portal known as "Malaysiakini."

[2] To succeed in his claim for defamation, the appellant had to prove three elements as follows:

(i) The words are defamatory;

(ii) It referred to him; and

(iii) It was published, that is, communicated, to a third party.

See: Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd & Ors v. Raub Autralian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd [2021] 5 MLRA 37; Ayob Saud v. TS Sambanthamurthi [1988] 1 MLRH 653; Kian Lup Construction v. Hongkong Bank Malaysia Bhd [2002] 2 MLRH 389.

[3] The respondent conceded that the words complained of refer to the appellant and that they were published to a third party. Thus, the second and third elements have been proven by the appellant. This leaves the court to decide on the first element, i.e, whether the impugned words was defamatory. The learned Judge held the words are defamatory. In this appeal, both parties have conceded that there is no challenge on this particular decision of the learned Judge and whether the words were defamatory is a non issue in this appeal.

[4] The test of whether the words complained of were defamatory of the appellant is whether the words published in their natural and ordinary meaning impute to the appellant any dishonourable or discreditable conduct or lack of integrity on his part? If the question invites an affirmative answer, then the words complained of are defamatory; see Chok Foo Choo v. The China Press Bhd [1998] 2 MLRA 287 CA.

[5] After a full trial, the High Court dismissed the appellant's claim with costs on four grounds as follows:

(i) The contents of the impugned words were not capable of bearing the defamatory meaning pleaded by the appellant and hence not defamatory of the appellant.

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