Troubled newspaper Utusan agrees to settle Anwar Ibrahim’s suit dated 2013

Anwar Ibrahim, former Prisoner of Conscience and Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia speaks at an Amnesty staff meeting, London 9 March 2005.

Heavily indebted Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd which runs the highly controversial Malay language daily ‘Utusan Melayu’ has agreed to settle a defamation suit filed by Anwar Ibrahim dated 2013.

Utusan Melayu is the paper that caused massive controversy in Malaysia after the 2013 general elections with a headline “Apa Cina Mahu Lagi”.

That year, the Barisan Nasional under Najib Razak expected the Chinese community to shift their votes from the Pakatan Rakyat headed by Anwar Ibrahim to the BN.

When it did not happen, Najib coined the highly-controversial phrase “What more does the Chinese want?”.

Lawyer Azhar Arman Ali, representing Utusan Melayu, said, “On Aug 24, Datuk Dr Mazlan Ismail (Barisan Nasional candidate for Permatang Pauh in the 13th General Election) and TV3 had agreed to settle the suit and today, Utusan Melayu as the third defendant expressed the same wish.

“My client will also issue an apology to the plaintiff (Anwar). The apology will be published in the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, but the date has yet to be determined,” he said.

Azhar said the court also set Sept 28 to record the settlement.

Anwar filed the suit on Oct 15, 2015, claiming that three defendants had implicated him of bribing judges and prosecutors.

He claimed that Mazlan had called for a press conference during which the alleged defamatory words were uttered and then published by TV3 on ‘Buletin Utama’ at 8 pm on Aug 2, 2013 and Utusan Malaysia newspaper on Aug 3, 2013.

Anwar said the words implied that he was unethical, dishonest, immoral and a liar.

He is seeking general, aggravated and exemplary damages and injunction to stop the defendant from repeating or re-publishing the defamatory words.