Lynas Court recognises right to be heard

KUALA LUMPUR: Campaign group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) appears to have won its first legal victory against corporate behemoth Lynas Corporation Limited (Lynas).

SMSL spokesperson Tan Bun Teet said in any democracy, citizens have the right to voice out their grouses.

"Here we are dealing with the world's biggest rare earth plant which was built without any consultation with the public, located in a swampy area so close to the sea and the population," he said in a statement July 26.

"We, as informed and concerned citizens, cannot simply sit back and do nothing," he said ahead of a court ruling on an application by Lynas to shut down the campaign group.

The High Court later ruled against giving Lynas a court order to stop SMSL from further publishing alleged defamatory statements in its blog.

High Court judge Datuk John Louis O'Hara said he was unable to conclude at this stage whether the statements were defamatory until the full trial.

"The affidavit evidence before me is not sufficient to convince the court that the defendants will fail in the trial," he reportedly said.

The right to know

In dismissing the injunction application, the judge agreed with the defendants' submissions that the public had the right to know the subject matter.

O'Hara dismissed Lynas' injunction application with costs.

Lynas was represented by counsel Rishwant Singh while counsel Datuk Bastian Pius Vendargon acted for the defendants. In the suit filed on April 19, Lynas Corporation and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd named SMSL Sdn Bhd, its directors Tan Bun Teet and Lim Sow Teow and three of the group's volunteers as defendants.

In its application, Lynas wanted an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing statements contained in an article dated March 22 entitled 'Civil Society Organisations joint statement on Lynas issue: SMSL & Malaysian NGOs against Lynas' until conclusion of the trial.

Lynas also wanted the defendants to immediately remove the article from its blog or other websites controlled by them.

Judge O'Hara fixed Aug 14 for case management of the suit.

Vendargon yesterday indicated to the court that his clients would make an application for the matter to be heard in the Kuantan High Court. - ES

Resource: Harakah, Page: 16
Date: Monday, 30 July 2012

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