Amicable handshake marks end of defamation case between Batang Sadong MP and former journalist

Nancy (second right) shakes hand with Joseph (left) witnessed by Rubiah (third right) and others after they emerged out of the court room.

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Feb 13: There was no sign of acrimony between Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri and former journalist Joseph Tawie as they shook hands outside the court room today after the latter apologised to the former in the Kuching High Court.

Nancy had brought a legal suit against Joseph for publishing defamatory writings on his personal Facebook page as well as for trying to stir up racial discord during an event last year.

Joseph said: “I regret what I have done and I really apologise to her which she has humbly accepted.

“Instead of becoming enemies, we become friends,” said Joseph, who was just meeting Nancy for the second time, to reporters after he emerged from the court room here today.

Nancy added, “We have found a new friend in each other. From now on, we will talk to each other if there is anything.

“I shall forgive as I believe everyone regardless of race or religion must be given opportunities to redeem themselves. However, there are consequences for defamation.

“While we live in a democratic society that embraces the freedom of expression, we must also undertand that such freedom is not absolute and must not be abused at the expense of others.

“In this case, I was falsely accused on Friday, 10 May 2019 on his (Joseph’s) personal Facebook account of barring the Tuai Rumah of Sg Bulu, Sadong Jaya from hosting a federal minister and also interfering in the decision of the Tuai Rumah as a non-Dayak, implying that I was stirring up racial discord, which promoted the invitation of this suit.

“I am pleased that Mr Joseph Tawie has come to realisation of his defamatory and false statement where he admitted his wrongdoings and retracted with an apology as registered,” Nancy said.

The court ruled that Joseph will need to make an open public apology by publishing it in two local dailies.

He is also required to remove his Facebook post and not to repeat and continue publishing the same or similar words towards Nancy and the state government.

Meanwhile, Nancy observed that Sarawak is a land which symbolises unity whereby people from various races are living in Sarawak.

“People say Sarawak is a role model for unity in the country. This is where we show our unity, whereby we respect each other regardless of race and religion.

“I hope that we can just proceed with whatever we are doing for the people and Sarawak should develop through this kind of unity,” she observed.

Nancy was represented by Shankar Ram Asnani while Joseph was represented by Augustine Liom.

Among those present to support Nancy were Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Kota Samarahan MP Rubiah Wang and Sadong Jaya assemblyman Aidel Lariwoo. — DayakDaily