KUALA LUMPUR: The Edge Commu­nications Sdn Bhd can claim for damages from the Home Minister for suspending two of its publications last year, Court of Appeal ruled.

A three-man panel unanimously dismissed the appeal brought by the Home Minister and the Home Ministry secretary-general.

Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh held that the trial judge’s decision in ordering the publisher to claim for damages over the suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, was correct.

The Home Minister issued the suspension order for the two publications for three months from July 27 last year.

Justice Mohd Zawawi said the publisher was entitled to claim for the damages under Order 53 Rule 5 of Rules of Court 2012.

The panel, also comprising Court of Appeal judges Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli and Justice Prasad Sandosham Abraham, did not make any order as to costs, after hearing submissions by both parties.

In affirming the High Court’s decision, Justice Mohd Zawawi recorded that the panel had settled that both parties were of the view that the issue on the validity of the suspension order was now academic and the only issue before them was over damages.

Speaking to reporters later, the publisher’s lead counsel Darryl Goon said the ruling would now allow his client to proceed for assessment of damages before a High Court registrar for claim of misfeasance of public office (a remedy for acts by holder of public office over misuse of power) and constitutional compensation for infringement of his client’s constitutional rights on freedom of speech and expression.

High Court judge Justice Asmabi Mohamed (now a Court of Appeal judge) had on Sept 21 last year quashed the suspension order against The Edge Financial Dailyand The Edge Weekly, and awarded RM15,000 in costs to be paid to the publisher.

At the outset yesterday, senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching argued that the suspension order was well within the discretion and power of the Home Minister under Section 6(2) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Loke also said there was no evidence of malice or dishonest intention on the part of the minister to injure the publisher.

But Goon argued that the minister had acted recklessly without making inquiries whether the publisher had breached Section 7 of the Act.


By The Star Online