MToday and Lynas settle dispute over defamation

KUALA LUMPUR: MToday News Sdn Bhd, which runs news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT), and Lynas have settled their dispute over a defamation issue.

With the settlement, recorded in chambers before High Court judge Justice Nor Bee Ariffin, Lynas Corporation Limited and Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd withdrew their suit against MToday News.

At the same time, the defendant gave the undertaking not to publish any more anti-Lynas statements.

The portal operator had, on July 17, posted an apology on its website over published articles that claimed the Lynas plant near Kuantan might be unsafe for the public.

Apologising for publishing the articles, FMT said the claims that the Lynas plant might be unsafe did not have a scientific basis.

It also accepted that the regulatory review of the Lynas plant had been thorough and diligent.

MToday News lawyer Rueben Mathiavaranam said Lynas withdrew its suit as part of the settlement.

"The consent order was forwarded to the judge," he told reporters here. "There is no order as to costs and no damages to be payable (to the plaintiffs).

"Besides that, the three offensive articles have been removed from the FMT online portal.

"The terms of settlement was recorded before the judge," added Rueben.

However, he declined to reveal the details of the consent order.

Lynas was represented by lead counsel Rishwant Singh and K.H. Wong.

In the endorsement of claim filed on April 20, Lynas Corporation and Lynas Malaysia sued MToday News over an article titled Lynas Must Co dated March 6, deeming it to be defamatory.

Lynas sought for general damages, exemplary and aggravated damages, costs as well as an injunction restraining the defendant from further publishing any defamatory article against it.

The Australian red earth mining company, which has been given a temporary licence to operate its processing plant in Gebang, near Kuantan, chose to operate in Malaysia because of its inexpensive production compared to its home base.

Besides Malaysia, Lynas obtained a licence to operate a factory in China.

Resource: The Star, Page: 37
Date: Saturday, 28 July 2012

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