No need to pay damages to The Edge over suspension, says govt

KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): The government is maintaining its view that no damages ought to be awarded to The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd over the suspension of two of its publications by the Home Ministry (KDN) for more than three months in 2015over reports on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

Senior Federal Counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching, who appeared on behalf of the KDN Secretary-General and the Home Minister, said the government's position is no damages ought to be awarded in this case.

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She said the government is appealing the decision made by High Court Deputy Registrar Norazlin Othman, who directed the KDN Secretary-General and the Home Minister to pay damages for loss of revenue totalling RM11.26 million to The Edge Malaysia and The Edge Financial Daily, whose publications were suspended for three months from July 27, 2015.

"We are of the view that no damages ought to be allowed. That is the government's position," Loke said.

She said The Edge is also appealing as Norazlin did not allow constitutional damages, aggravated and exemplary damages claimed by the company.

"The Judge (Datuk Nordin Hassan) gave us another date because we want to get the grounds of the judgment from the registrar in order to proceed with the appeal, because this is an appeal, we have to look at how the registrar assessed the damages and what were her considerations," Loke said.

The matter is now fixed for case management on March 26, pending the status of judgment.

Loke said the High Court will only fix a hearing date to hear both appeals once the grounds are ready.

The KDN suspended the publication permit of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 27, 2015, following their reports on the 1MDB issue.

The Edge subsequently filed an application for the judicial review on July 27, 2015, to get an order for the court to reject the decision of the Home Minister in suspending the permit of the two publications.

On Aug 9, 2017, the Federal Court decided that The Edge could seek damages from the Home Minister for losses suffered with regards to the suspension of two of its publications, after dismissing the appeal by the Home Minister and KDN Secretary-General to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal that allowed The Edge to seek damages from both parties.

The High Court on Dec 17, 2018 awarded The Edge compensation totalling more than RM11.2 million and also ordered both respondents to pay an interest of 4% beginning July 27, 2015, until the full completion of the case.

Counsel Raja Eileen Soraya Raja Aman appeared for The Edge today. —

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