Steven Thiru & Sudhar Partnership | View firm profile
- On 10th March 2022, the High Court allowed an appeal filed by a public utility against the decision of the Deputy Registrar which awarded RM60,000.00 in general damages against the Defendant in respect of defamatory postings published on his Facebook page.
- The defamatory postings published by the Defendant centered on amongst others, the accusations of embezzlement of company funds as well as allegations of cash-flow issues within the organization.
- A critical feature of this dispute is that the defamation action filed by the public utility stood unchallenged and unanswered as the Defendant failed to file his Defence in this case.
- Judgment in Default of Defence (“JID”) was entered against the Defendant and subsequently assessment proceedings was filed before the Deputy Registrar of the High Court for damages to be assessed pursuant to the said JID.
- In this connection, the learned Deputy Registrar awarded RM60,000.00 in general damages in favor of the public utility.
- The public utility appealed against the said decision as it takes the position that the award ought to be substituted for a higher sum to vindicate the company’s goodwill and business reputation.
- At the appeal before the High Court Judge in Chambers, the parties submitted extensively on the following issues:
- the resulting effect of the JID to the assessment of damages filed against the Defendant;
- the judicial parameters applicable in the assessment proceedings which includes, inter-alia:
- the company’s position and standing in society;
- the gravity and seriousness of the defamatory postings;
- the mode and extent of the publication of the defamatory statements; and
- the absence or refusal of apology by the Defendant; and
- the recent judicial trend in respect of quantum of damages to be awarded in favor of defamed public listed companies.
- Upon considering the factors set out above, Justice Azimah Omar set aside the Deputy Registrar’s decision and increased the award in general damages from RM60,000.00 to RM200,000.00.
- The public utility was represented by our Firm’s David Mathew, Muhammad Zarqali and Adrienne Sena.
 Kamarulzaman Omar v. Yakub Husin  1 CLJ 987 (FC).
 Raub Australian Gold Mining v. Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd  1 LNS 62 (CA).