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  • Writer's pictureSreedhara Naidu


Suing someone for defamation has now become vogue and mainstream in Malaysia. Once the PM himself started taking such actions against his political opposition, the floodgates were opened. Now everyone can sue! (Sorry AirAsia 😉).

Defamation is a serious legal offence in Malaysia that can have significant consequences for individuals or organisations guilty of committing it. Defamation is any statement or communication that harms a person's reputation by exposing them to hatred, ridicule, or contempt or causing them to be shunned or avoided by others.

In Malaysia, defamation law is primarily governed by the Defamation Act 1957, which outlines the legal framework for individuals or organisations seeking legal action against those who have made defamatory statements about them. The Act provides for both civil and criminal liability for defamation, with the latter being a more serious offence.

Under Malaysian law, individuals or organisations who believe they have been defamed can seek redress by filing a lawsuit in court. To succeed in such a lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant made a false, malicious statement and caused harm to their reputation.

If the plaintiff can prove these elements, they may be entitled to a range of remedies, including damages (monetary compensation) and an injunction (an order preventing the defendant from making further defamatory statements).

It is worth noting that there are some defences to a defamation claim, including truth, fair comment, and qualified privilege. For example, if the defendant can prove their statement was true or made it in the public interest, they may be able to avoid liability for defamation.

In addition to civil liability, individuals or organisations found guilty of committing criminal defamation in Malaysia can face fines and even imprisonment. The Malaysian Penal Code provides for criminal defamation, with individuals found guilty of this offence facing up to two years in prison and/or a fine.

In conclusion, defamation is a serious legal offence in Malaysia, and individuals or organisations should be aware of the potential consequences of making defamatory statements. The legal framework for defamation in Malaysia provides a range of remedies for those who have been defamed, and defendants should ensure that their statements are not false, malicious, or likely to cause harm to others' reputations.

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