Finally Lim Guan Eng got to taste his own medicine

 |Mar 20, 2017
Lim Guan Eng.

Journalists and media groups have frequently been at the receiving end of Lim Guan Eng’s legal actions and tongue lashing.

Since assuming the position of Penang chief minister in 2008, Guan Eng has shown a penchant for suing journalists and the media even for the slightest of criticisms against his state government.

But last Friday, a journalist, for a change, sued the DAP secretary-general.

In an apparent move to turn the tables for once, Ong Beng Siang, a senior journalist from a Chinese vernacular daily, Guang Ming, filed a defamation suit against Guan Eng.

Finally, a journalist has given the Bagan MP a taste of his own medicine.

It was long coming.

Ong filed the libel suit against Guan Eng at the Penang High Court, seeking aggravated damages, exemplary damages, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

The suit was in response to Guan Eng’s January 22 Facebook posting, in which Ong claimed he was slandered as “an unethical, immoral, dishonest and unprincipled journalist.”

The DAP leader’s Facebook posting was made in response to Ong’s news report dated December 23, 2016, on a land issue involving a Chinese school.

The Lim Dynasty, a term coined by critics to describe the dominance of veteran parliamentarian Lim Kit Siang and his son Guan Eng on DAP, has a liking to shoot the messenger.

The Lims have filed numerous legal suits against media and journalists over the years.

Their frequent calls for freedom of speech and freedom of the press seem to be only a political stage show to gain applause from their audience.

The Lims however, won’t tolerate criticisms or dissent.

The Lims’ critics, including journalists, media groups and social activists, are constantly branded as Umno or Barisan Nasional stooges, and their criticisms will be instantly rebutted as Umno and BN propaganda.

On December 21, 2016, an appeal by NSTP against a High Court decision on a defamation suit filed by Guan Eng, the Court of Appeal ruled that the DAP lawmaker cannot sue the media for defamation in his official capacity.

The court decision, however, has not deterred the Lim Dynasty from issuing threats of legal actions against or suing anyone who criticised them or the DAP.

Although many cases have not ended in their favour, the Lim Dynasty kept threatening the media just to hoodwink DAP supporters that its leadership and administration have been a victim of malicious lies.

The Lim Dynasty has always been quick off the block to blame BN and Umno for targeting the Lims.

Ong’s defamation suit on Guan Eng will not only redeem his dignity but to media journalists generally.

It may have issued a warning to politicians, especially those from the opposition bloc, to stop undermining and ridiculing the media and journalists.

Finally, a journalist has given Guan Eng a taste of his own medicine, and time will tell whether it is bitter or sweet.

Murali is a contributor to MO. He advocates the principle of practising human rights with responsibility.