Now I know for certain that the NSTP is paying the legal fees of its deputy chairman Kalimullah Hassan, group editor-in-chief Hishamudin Aun, CEO Syed Faisal Albar and former group editor Brendan Pereira, in the defamation suit against two bloggers as well as Kalimullah's suit against lawyer Matthias Chang .
This matter surfaced at the NSTP annual general meeting held at the company's Jalan Riong premises this morning.
As a minority shareholder, I attended. It was my very first time.
Syed Faisal, replying to a question by shareholder A Kadir Jasin who was former NSTP GEIC, said that the company was footing the bill for the four plaintiffs (including Brendan who is no longer in its employment) because "they are all associated with the NSTP".
And he said to date RM70,000 has been paid to their lawyers.
(Syed Faisal is the fourth plaintiff in the case NSTP and 4 others vs Ahirudin Attan.)
The other blogger being sued by NSTP and 3 others is Jeff Ooi.
I have been made to understand that a defamation suit is a "private action". The suit dies with the plaintiff. Which means it is between one individual and another, and has nothing to do with a third party.
Of course, I am not a lawyer.
Regardless (of what a defamation suit is), I'd like to ask: should the NSTP be paying the legal fees of the four individuals?
I think not.
They should be paying from their own pocket. Shouldn't they?
For more on the AGM, ready Rocky's Bru here.
(Note: Absent at the AGM were the deputy chairman and GEIC. According to the chairman, they were both recuperating from recent surgery, at Pantai Hospital.)