(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The local press variously reported that I had withdrawn my defamation suit, or that the suit had been struck off at the High Court, against Gerakan President, Datuk Lim Keng Yaik and New Sunday Times in connection with the defamatory statement by Keng Yaik on November 12, 1994 that I had dishonourably used my influence in the DAP to procure a scholarship from the DAP education fund for my son.
In my statement of claim for slander and libel against Keng Yaik and the New Sunday Times, I had said that there was no truth or basis in the allegation made by Keng Yaik.
The impression given by the newspaper reports today is that I had withdrawn the suit because Keng Yaik was right and had basis in his allegation that I had used my influence in the DAP to procure a scholarship from the DAP education fund for my son, and that therefore, I was afraid of proceeding with the case.
My counsel, Karpal Singh, rightly informed Justice R.K. Nathan that all the parties "do not wish to proceed with the matter any further".
This was because of a request by Keng Yaik, conveyed through his lawyers, for "magnanimity" to settle the case amicably. None of my four children had received a single sen from the Party for their education and there is completely no truth or basis in Keng Yaik’s allegation which was carried by New Sunday Times.
Keng Yaik’s lawyers, Kamarudin & Partners, in a letter dated 10th
June, 1998 to Messrs. Karpal Singh & Co., wrote:
1. We refer to the above matter fixed for hearing for Monday,
15th June 1998.
2. We would appreciate if you client would in his magnanimity be agreeable to settle the matter amicably as was previously done by your client in the earlier KLHC Suit No. S2-53-94.
3. Our client would be much obliged if the personal attendance of the parties concerned be dispensed with if a settlement towards withdrawal of suit can be reached.
4. Your prompt reply much appreciated."
Going by precedents established in the defamation suits against MGG Pillai and others where awards for multi-million ringgit damages had been made, I could probably claim damages running into millions of ringgit against Keng Yaik and the New Sunday Times.
However, money had never been my first concern, and since Keng Yaik, through his lawyers, Kamarudin & Partners, had requested "magnanimity" to settle the matter amicably, I was agreeable, as I have better things to do than to be bogged down in court for days especially when the country is faced with multiple crises.
Furthermore, I am not a vindictive person, demanding not only "a pound of flesh" but also "a pint of blood", and if Keng Yaik could ask for "magnanimity" on my part, I am prepared to show that there is such a thing as "magnanimity" whether in the political or mass media jungle.
However, I fully stress that I would not hesitate to vindicate my honour and institute defamation proceedings if anyone should repeat the completely false and baseless allegation that I had used my influence in the DAP to procure a scholarship from the DAP education fund for my son.
Unfortunately, I have been in politics long enough to know that there would be imputations either that I was afraid of losing the defamation suit against Keng Yaik and the New Sunday Times, or that I had been secretly paid a sizable sum of money to withdraw the suit.
Very recently, a discredited politician using anonymous email addresses posted lies against me on the newsgroups on the Internet, retailing the rumour that "Kit Siang’s bank account increased by some seven to eight figures" for dropping the Esso suit in the eighties.
Incidentally, this discredited politician, who used nearly ten anonymous persona to spout lies and venom against me, had his real identity exposed by three senior netizens of Malaysia, which was a piece of very impressive Internet detective work - creating Internet history in Malaysia.