Irene Fernandes Wins RM200,000 But Poses Doubts Over Why

Posted: October 26, 2007 in Freedom of Expression

According to<“Malaysiakini’s latest news”>, Tenaganita Director, Irene Fernandez has won her defamation suit against the Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia despite Utusan defense that the article was indeed based on facts. She has been awarded an amount of RM200,000 in damages as a result of her win over Utusan in this defamation suit. The Kuala Lumpur High Court has ruled that the article written on September 20,1995 had misrepresented her as it said that she had failed to cooperate with police over investigations into allegations based on a memorandum and was considered as unfair and dishonest. She had revealed details of the said documents at a press conference in August 1995, on alleged torture deaths in Malaysian detention camps for illegal immigrants. Irene filed the suit as she felt the article was written with malice and painted a bleak picture of her. You can read more at <“Malaysiakini”> on the details of this issue.

I’m glad for Irene Fernandez, as for as long as I know, from the time I have been aware of the issues of human rights that is, she has been a household name when it came to human rights. I met her briefly at Catholic college and university gathering a few years back. At that point of time if I’m not mistaken she was in the middle of this case, for her expose on the migrants but she took the trouble to come and give us students a talk. She was very insightful and I still remember her face very clearly till today.

I often wonder how she has been so brave to go through what she has in the past years. Having a family and kids of her own, it must have been a struggle to cope with all this external things happening to her over the years. From that I gather that she must have had very strong family backing. Her husband and children must be really proud of what she has done and is continues to do for human rights in the country.

On the other hand, although this win signals a positive sign for people in the country, I can’t help but wonder whether there is any motive or underlining reason to the judgment on Irene case and the earlier case of concerning the former ISA detainee,Abd Malek Hussein that won the suit against the government over his arrest and torture in 1998. Somehow I wonder if there is some sort of reason that this cases are actually winning? It is not that I’m being a pessimistic person, we should be glad that such cases are won but….I guess time will tell…

  1. Yasotha Balakrishnan says:

    the state of the current situation is the reason and i repeat the reason for the fair judial judgement that we ought to refer it a history or ever heard before……..

  2. Pragalath says:

    I feel that both Malik and Irene have won their cases due to the judiciary attempting to do some damage control after Lingam tape controversy .

  3. tomatoinc says:

    both cases are like “appetizers” for the public, before the government promises us the “feast of judiciary independence” and ” anti corruption measures” etc etc. Just take the rapid ACA actions agains the corruption. it’s just a show. charge a few small potatoes, and lose a few cases against the government, wah la, malaysian mudah lupa.



  4. ong says:

    There is a sneaky suspicion from me that the monetary awards given to a poll watcher and a migrants rights watcher could be a way to softly buy off these folks and their supporters, and to create a perception that these folks can hope to `win’ through the rotten court system in Malaysia under a Mr Clean. It is calculated to remove/subdue personal animosities from the campaigners to the government. Just my guess….

  5. […] she was deliberately evading the police, was insincere and lacked integrity.Read articles here and here.Suit 2. NSTP & 4 Others vs Ahirudin Attan. In this unprecedented suit by a newspaper company […]

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