KL newspaper ordered to pay Anwar damages

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's High Court yesterday awarded former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim damages totalling RM200,000 (S$65,700) in a suit brought against the Malay-language newspaper Utusan Melayu.

Anwar had in 2013 won a defamation suit against Utusan Melayu and its editor-in-chief Abdul Aziz Ishak seeking RM50 million in damages for publishing two articles regarding his comments to the BBC during an interview on homosexuality laws, The Star reported.

High Court judge Hue Siew Kheng ordered the newspaper to pay RM100,000 in general damages, and another RM100,000 in aggravated damages.

Justice Hue made the order on the grounds that there was malice by the defendants, and injury to Anwar's feelings.

The judge noted that Anwar "had a high standing in society, both locally and abroad", and said the newspaper failed to offer an apology to Anwar when a letter of demand was served before the suit was filed, The Malaysian Insider news website said. She also ordered Utusan to pay RM8,000 in costs.

Anwar was sentenced in February to five years in prison after a sodomy conviction that he and independent observers said was politically motivated.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'KL newspaper ordered to pay Anwar damages'. Print Edition | Subscribe