Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kay Peng's Legal Defence Fund

Dear readers,

Since 2001, I have been a regular political commentator and analyst who has made himself available to journalists, reporters, politicians and NGOs to discuss important political and socio-economic issues in the country. I hope to be able to continue to provide this free-of-charge service to the society if you continue to support my contribution.

It was unfortunate that I was sued as a co-author of a book for allegedly defamed a Gerakan politician. I have denied the charge and the case is pending in court. Until now, I have paid all the legal fees with my own fund.

However, due to a miscommunication with a previous legal firm, which was supposed to have taken up the case on a 'pro-bono' basis, it has billed me with a substantial amount for its representation to overturn the injunction filed against me. It was arranged by a member of parliament who had misinformed me about the charges.

The Gerakan leader (who used his own legal firm to represent him) also sent legal notices to warn all major bookstores not to sell the book. As a result, a number of big book stores which had ordered hundreds of copies returned the books.

I do not blame the lawyers to want to earn their fee. However, we should not allow this act of intimidation to silence our voices too. Many of you may not agree with everything I wrote but I am sure you can appreciate my strive to be an independent observer.

All donations will be greatly appreciated. Please buy me a cuppa! Thanks.

Details:
Khoo Kay Peng
Maybank Account: 512231084814

UPDATE:

Thanks to readers who have responded within minutes of this post.

Controversial Gerakan book launched
Beh Lih Yi Jul 31, 08 (Malaysiakini)

The launch of a new book on Gerakan proceeded as scheduled today after the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed a Gerakan leader's application for an injunction to stop the event. The book, ‘Non-sectarian politics in Malaysia: The case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat' which was penned by Khoo Kay Peng and Dr Neil Khor ran into controversy after Gerakan's Chia Loong Thye claimed it contained defamatory words against him.

Loong Thye, who is also Gerakan secretary-general Kwang Chye's younger brother, had alleged that a line from the 186-page book was "false and defamatory" and caused serious damage to his reputation. The sentence, said to have cast aspersions on the brothers' characters, was set against the background of Loong Thye's electoral debut during the March 8 polls. He argued that the harm he allegedly suffered was "irreparable" especially as he was a lawyer, and thus warranted the need for an injunction to be granted.

Loong Thye is a partner of leading law firm Lee Hishamuddin Allen & Gledhill. He then sought an injunction to stop today's launch from taking place and to prevent the book from hitting the shelves. Different matters Justice Abdul Wahab Patail, however, denied Loong Thye's bid. The judge ruled that the politician could not rely on his legal qualifications as grounds for his applications as they were separate from his voluntary involvement in politics, according to Khor's lawyer Daphne Choy when contacted.

The decision was made after oral submissions from lawyers representing all parties during a brief session this morning. The two authors, the book's printer and publishing firm were named as the respondents in the application for the injunction. Contacted later, Khoo - who is the former head of Gerakan think-tank Sedar - was happy with the court's decision and said he was ready to face the politician should the latter decide to proceed with further court action.

The authors refused to comply with the requests set by Loong Thye in a letter of demand sent last Friday, which sought a full retraction of the wordings, an apology, withdrawal of the book from circulation or recall of copies already distributed. It also demanded the cancellation of the book's launch and asked for an unspecified sum in compensation.

‘It's a legitimate discussion'

Meanwhile, Loong Thye in a statement to Malaysiakini today said he agreed that the issue of non-sectarian politics in Malaysia was an "important issue and is very relevant to our present Malaysian politics". "It is also legitimate to discuss the role of Gerakan in the context of non-sectarian politics, but why is it not possible to discuss this issue without the need to (allegedly) slander another person?"

"My complaint against the authors is just that," he said in the statement. The book, which provided insights into Gerakan's operations, was launched by party leader Dr Toh Kin Woon, academician and author Dr Ooi Kee Beng and social activist Anwar Fazal at a hotel in Penang this afternoon.

In the March 8 polls, Loong Thye who made his election debut , lost to DAP candidate Teh Yee Cheu by 1,935 votes. Tanjong Bungah is one of the four state seats under the Bukit Bendera parliamentary constituency, where Kwang Chye contested and was defeated by DAP newcomer Liew Chin Tong with a whopping 16,112-vote majority. Previously, both these seats were Gerakan strongholds.

18 comments:

Jed Yoong said...

Pro Bono Legal Advice?
It's a high risk "area" we are in.
Anyway, hope all is well with you and keep on blogging.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with the Legal Profession in Malaysia. How can a legal firm miscommunicate its fees with the client? Where is the Retainer? What does it say ? In Australia you can complain the lawyer for disciplinary action !!! Maybe you should look into this aspect.

Anonymous said...

Discipline the lawyer? There is no such thing in Malaysia. The Bar Council protects only its own interests not the people. I am speaking from my own experience.

Michelle

Anonymous said...

Everyone has to be responsible for whatever they say and write. I do not know your case intimately so i cannot comment. I am all for freedom of press and of course proliferation of the new media. However, writers need to know and able substantiate what they write and say with evidence. Readers also need to know not to believe everything they read and see on the internet.

Until today some people still don't believe Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Imagine the ignorance.

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dear Anon 6.50pm,

No one is running away from responsibility. I stand to be sued re: Malaysiakini report.

But even a free internet paper is paid through some means. I am only asking for voluntary support for this blog.

If you like my work and writing, you can contribute to encourage this writer. As simple as that.

Dap man said...

Khoo, never trust any BN politician and lawyers.

Was there any written agreement to pay the lawyer for his services?

In the event you win the suit make sure you counter sue Chia Loong Thye to reimburse you for loss of income from the sale of your books.

If he can send letters to warn bookshops not to sell your books,then you have the right to seek compensation for your loss.

In fact he should give an undertaking to the court that he will reimburse you in full should he lose the suit.

By the way what is the position of Dr Neil?

Is it possible for me to get a copy of that book? If it is for sale I will buy one. If not I will deposit the price of one book into your account as a donation.

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dear DAP man,

Unfortunately the politician is not from BN. There was no written agreement to pay the legal firm. The lawyer admitted it was miscommunication. I offered to pay him out of goodwill.

Here is where you can get my book:
http://www.kinibooks.com/product_info.php?products_id=856

Thanks for contributing.

Anonymous said...

I will definately donate into u legal fund as i am a regular reader of your blog even though i may not agreed to all you had written. Anywhere this is the price one had to face against 'big and powerful' establishment. RPK is another good example. I am sad to note that I had not seen any commitment to donate todate

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dear Anon 9.27pm,

I have received a donation within seconds of this post. Thanks very much.

If the respond is good, additional money will be donated to the next blogger/writer facing a legal suit like myself.

Anonymous said...

bro

tomorrow i make my contribution. soldier on!!

4RAKYAT

BareSheen said...

Dear Kay Peng,

Nobody asks you to start your blog and certainly none of us, at least not myself, asks you to write that book of yours. In other words, nobody solicited your opinions. You offered them at your own free will, at no costs. Now that you are sued, whether rightly or wrongly, why should society consider your request for a defence fund?

I do not think you are a deserving charity case. You must take responsibility for what you write or say. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

khoo,

a little bit from me. aint not much but hope you dont mind.

anyway, i try to get my bank to drop allen gledhill from the panel. gosh, i dont like such type of lawyers. if dr toh thinks its ok, its ok. I have not met a nicer and honest politician than him.

Khoo Kay Peng said...

BareSheen,

Nobody forces you to read my blog or to contribute. This should be done voluntarily and if a person likes and appreciates my contribution.

You do not speak for the society. A number of blogs do ask for contributions to keep them running.

Anonymous said...

I had just deposited my contribution to the account. Also bought the book. Keep it up. Thks

P/s never mind what the other guy wrote , take the positive and forget about the negative

Anonymous said...

Bilani buat bilani tangkung ma!

romerz said...

Gave up 2 bottles of wine for your legal fund. Hope it helps.

doinkers said...

I'm donating if KKP continues to write.

Pls write about DAP. I'm dap and I feel we need outside perspective to keep us honest & relevent. Give us that straight talk else we end up like Gerakan.

The signs are slowly emerging now. Tiger park, tram cars, hillside development.

Anonymous said...

I've just deposited my small contribution to your account. Keep up with your good work & we must all do our small part for the future of our future generations in M'sia.
rgds
spt