KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court has today dismissed AirAsia Berhad’s suit against Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board former chairman Wee Choo Keong, ruling that the article in question, was not defamatory to the airline.
Justice Datuk Su Geok Yiam said the plaintiff had failed to prove any malice on the defendant’s part in publishing the article in his blog.
“The court finds that the plaintiff failed to discharge its burden against the defendant and that no damage has been done to the plaintiff as a result of the article,” she said, and ordered AirAsia to pay RM50,000 in costs to Wee.
The judge also said the court found in any event that the article was true and substantially true based on the evidence brought before the court; that the article contained the defendant’s opinion and comment of true facts.
“Therefore, the writ of summons of the plaintiff against the defendant is dismissed,” she said.
The judge made the ruling after hearing evidence from three witnesses from the plaintiff and two from the defendant during the six-day trial.
In 2015, AirAsia sued Wee over his article titled, Why Liow and MAHB encouraged AirAsia to owe RM50 million PSC/Airport Tax? on April 20, 2015.
(The article alleged that AirAsia owed ‘Passengers Service Charge’, then known as ‘Airport Tax’ of more than RM50 million to Malaysia Airport Holding Bhd (MAHB)).
In its statement of claim, the airline alleged that the article contained false and slanderous statements.
Lawyer Leonard Yeoh represented AirAsia while Khoo Guan Huat acted for Wee.
Leonard told reporters that he would seek instructions from his client on whether to file an appeal against today’s verdict.