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Accused uttered defamatory statements, not Express
Published on: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
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Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the accused in a defamation case uttered words to the effect that she was not worthy of being elected and had cheated the people of Lahad Datu in a video recording that went viral in social media just before the last general election.

“Kenapa orang Api-Api mahu undi Christina Liew” (uttered three times) and “Itu Christina Liew tipu kita orang di Lahad Datu” (uttered three times) were audible in a contentious video recording,” she told Judicial Commissioner Justice Leonard Shim.

Liew, who is also State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, said when cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel Chong Kian Ming, said: 

“When I first saw the video recording, I immediately recognised the defendant. I have met him on several occasions in Lahad Datu since 2005. He had also admitted in the recording that he is Leksun Bin Injil. 

Liew

“The words uttered by the defendant in the video referred to me. The words are malicious and false, which are defamatory to me.”

She disagreed with Chong that the video recording was transmitted by a third party, not by the defendant, to the public, adding that even if the recording was not transmitted by the defendant, he had caused or contributed to the publication of the recording that was made viral on social media via WhatsApp and Facebook.

Liew’s counsel Datuk Alex Decena, assisted by Jordan Kong, sought permission to play the video recording in court as evidence that Leksun, a former smallholder of the Bagahak Scheme in Lahad Datu, had committed defamation.

Later when cross-examined by Decena, she said when she looked at the video recording, she noticed that the defendant was looking in the direction of the person taking the video four times. 

“Furthermore, I could see numerous camera flashlights in the video recording while he was talking,” Liew said.

She also disagreed with the defendant’s counsel that she has no direct evidence to link this video to Leksun. 

“I disagree because the defendant confirmed his identity by saying that he is Leksun Bin Injil.”

She also disagreed with Chong that it was the Daily Express she should have sued over the report “Liew To Pay Record RM557 million” published on October 26, 2014 if it was not the case. 

“It is up to me whom I should take defamation action against,” she said, adding that it was the defendant who uttered the malicious and defamatory statements, and not the Daily Express.”

[Daily Express and other relevant media reported the contents as they had appeared in the form of a press statement by Borneo Samudera Sdn Bhd in 2014. 

Daily Express duly carried a clarification that the court did not assess the damage to be RM557m as claimed in the press statement, once this was brought to its attention].

Leksun

Meanwhile, Leksun, 56, claimed he did not know the existence of a video recording of himself that became viral in social media. He said he only knew of it when receiving a letter from Liew’s solicitor in 2019.

He also could not recall the date or month the video was taken but remembered he went to the Gaya Street Sunday market during election time in 2018 to meet Parti Keadilan President Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to protest against Liew being the party’s candidate for the Api-Api State constituency and Tawau parliamentary seat.

He claimed he uttered the contentious words to a stranger after being unable to meet Wan Azizah and did not know it was being taped and that the tape seemed to have been edited.

Leksun also denied making the speech to defame and claimed that what he said was the truth.

He said he knew the plaintiff as she represents a part of Bagahak smallholders to initiate a suit against Borneo Samudera Sdn Bhd but after that many of them declared they never appointed the plaintiff but Messrs J Marimuttu and Partners.

He said despite whatever he had said, the plaintiff still won the Api-Api State and Tawau parliamentary seat in the 14th general election with high majority and even appointed as Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister and also appointed as the State chairman of Sabah PKR.



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