Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim finally succeeded in giving a blogger 'the lesson of a lifetime' for defaming him in a blog article. Its not about the RM400,000 being awarded to him but a reminder for bloggers alike to be more careful with their writings.
Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof yesterday ordered Amizudin Ahmat to pay RM300,000 in damages and another RM100,000 in costs to the minister.
In January this year, Rais, 69, sued Amizudin, 42, who is also a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth committee member, for defamation over an article posted in the latter's blog, sharpshooterblogger.blogspot.com, on or about Dec 28 last year.
In her ruling, Justice Zabariah said the amount awarded to Rais was reasonable considering the facts and nature of the allegation (here). She awarded the amount for compensatory, aggravated and exemplary damages.
In his suit, Rais said the entire words in the Malay language article were malicious and defamatory of him and the words in the article meant and/or were understood to mean that he was guilty of a serious offence of having raped and capable of murdering his Indonesian maid.
A woman who worked as a maid for him for eight years was later reported by an Indonesian news portal as denying that she had ever been mistreated or raped by her employer.
Rais told reporters the ruling 'should provide adequate reflections to all levels of the society, especially those who passed time to write about others, to be careful when writing stories about any individual'.
"It is a great day; it truly reflects our confidence in our judiciary. It also rings a bell for those who constantly write about others in blogs or columns, (to) respect the rights of others," he said.
Well. I believe the blogger would not be able to pay such a big sum, which means he will be made a bankrupt. However, there is a moral to this case - although blogs are personal domains, the owners/writers must be fully responsible with its content.
Let it be a precedent, and I also hope Rais will not vent his anger in this manner anymore...