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[Last updated: 2pm]
By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Dec 4: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas was awarded RM200,000 in aggravated damages by the High Court here in a defamation suit he brought against PKR state secretary Vernon Kedit.
High Court Judge Ravinthran N Paramaguru delivered the judgement at 11.30am, allowing Uggah’s claim and finding Vernon liable.
He also ordered Vernon to pay RM40,000 in cost.
Uggah had filed a suit against Vernon, who was then Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak publicity chief, last year for allegedly calling him a “liar” and “traitor” following the amendment of the Sarawak Land Code in 2018.
Vernon, who is now the special officer to Minister of Works Baru Bian had allegedly published a post through the medium of a social media messaging network platform under ‘PKR Swak State Media’ with the headline ‘Exposed Uggah! Not only he is a traitor, he is officially now a liar’ on or about July 12, 2018, particularly on the mechanisms to convert native customary rights (NCR) land to Native Territorial Domain (NTD).
The message also contained the following words namely, ‘Uggah betrayed the Iban by introducing a Bill that reduces NCR land which can only be used but not owned, the size of which is limited to 1,000 hectares only. Today Uggah has added another adjective to his name: liar’. Does Uggah think it is so easy for him to twist and turn legal facts into lies to suit his own machiavellian schemes of cheating the poor Dayaks and pacify his political masters.’
According to the statement of claim (SOC), Uggah had described Vernon’s remarks as a personal attack that is libellous and slanderous, whereby his personal and political reputation and standing especially amongst the Dayak communities and within the state government have been gravely harmed and he has suffered hurt, distress, embarrassment and public ridicule and contempt.
The SOC also asserted Vernon had publicly announced and or published at a press conference, that he has received a letter from Uggah to issue a withdrawal or words and publish an apology but he would not do so, claiming the words to be true by saying ‘truth is on my side’ and had falsely accused Uggah of silencing him.
Vernon was also alleged to have continued to repeat the words to others through social media even after receiving the letter of demand.
Meanwhile, Judge Ravinthran also granted an injunction to restrain Vernon or his agents or whosoever from publishing or causing to the publishing of the words or similar defamatory words of Uggah in whatsoever manner.
Uggah and Vernon were not present today. They were represented by counsels Sim Hui Chuang and Desmond Kho respectively. — DayakDaily