Report: Pahang govt sues environmental activist for defamation over logging issue

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 ― Pahang state government has hit environmental group Peka’s president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil with a defamation suit over her statements on logging activities in the state.

Malaysiakini reported that this was a follow-up action from the state’s letter of demand for her to pay RM1 million in compensation and an apology over the comments she posted on her Facebook page and during an interview with a local daily.

Under the law, a civil action could be mounted in court if the receiver of the legal letter allegedly fails to abide by its demands.

According to a copy of the cause papers sighted by Malaysiakini, the civil suit was filed at the Temerloh High Court on April 7.

The Pahang government claimed that Sabrina made allegedly defamatory statements on her Facebook page on December 29 and 30 last year, as well as during her interview with Sinar Harian on Jan 12 this year.

The state administration alleged that her statements insinuated that the floods which hit Pahang late last year were caused by alleged rampant logging.

“The plaintiff furthermore pleads that the defamatory words in the first, second, and third publications on a whole contained false and baseless allegations and amounted to serious defamation on the reputation and good name of the plaintiff as a state government which is responsible and competent in developing the state of Pahang as well as spearheading the development of the economy of the state of Pahang, as well as safeguarding the prosperity and/or safety and/or peace of the people of Pahang specifically,” the Pahang government claimed as reported by Malaysiakini.

Meanwhile, in Shariffa’s statement of defence filed on May 23, the environmentalist countered that a state government cannot be defamed and its actions should be open to criticism from the people.

She contended that her statements were fair comments as they could be made honestly and reasonably by any fair-minded person based on true facts, in line with the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

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