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Perak PAS chief ordered to pay RM250,000 to Guan Eng in defamation suit over headscarf fiasco

Razman Zakaria speaks to the press at the Perak Islamic Administration Institute in Ipoh August 4, 2020 — Picture by Farhan Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — The High Court has ordered Perak PAS chief Razman Zakaria to pay RM250,000 in damages to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, and to issue a public apology over a Facebook posting targeted at Lim, over a headscarf ban fiasco involving hotel staff.

On January 22, 2018, national news agency Bernama reported that the Bagan MP Lim had initiated legal action against the Perak state executive councillor for uploading a fake image on the latter’s social media alongside a statement that was defamatory, false and malicious against Lim on November 18, 2017.

Razman had at that time reported to have stated that Lim appeared to be supporting the ban on the donning of headscarves, which he allegedly defended as being the right of hotel operators, and that Penang fully backed the move.

In his statement of claim, Bernama reported Lim as saying that the words used in Razman’s post were from an unauthentic source and aimed at tarnishing his name, reputation and portraying him as a leader who had no respect for Islam and Malay culture.

Lim then sought for general, exemplary and aggravated damages and other relief deemed fit by the court in addition to applying for an order to prevent the defendant from issuing or publishing the same post again on any platform.

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that in a ruling by judicial commissioner Datuk Amarjeet Singh Serjit Singh on Monday, Razman was ordered to pay Lim RM150,000 in general damages and RM100,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages.

Lim was also awarded RM15,000 in costs.

Amarjeet had also ordered Razman to issue a public apology on his Facebook page in the next 14 days, and to have Lim’s Facebook page tagged on the apology posting.

Razman was also ordered to not repeat the statement on Facebook in any way in future.

The report said that Lim had earlier testified that Razman’s posting was slanderous and had affected his reputation and role as the then Penang chief minister.

He added that he had never made any remarks about banning Muslim women hotel staff from wearing their headscarves.

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