Defamation lawsuits can only be initiated when there is defamation. An accusation that can be proven to be fake. There are two types of defamation in law, which is libel and verbal (slander).
TYPES OF DEFAMATION
Defamation in writing or ‘libel’. Defamation like this usually happens when there is a statement that is not true in writing, print or in permanent form against a person who is defamed and it is spread to third parties / society. Defamatory statements in writing are usually published on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other related social media. It can also be spread in the form of email or pictures.
Defamation in verbal or ‘slander’. This kind of defamation occurs when a conversation from someone has false statements or accusations against the defamed person and the conversation is expressed in front of other people such as third parties/society.
QUESTION: How to determine the compensation amount?
ANSWER: The court will look at the person’s position and status in society to determine the amount of compensation. The compensation received for a defamation action to the politician or a celebrity or a famous businessman is higher when compared to the public.
QUESTION: If the defendant fails to pay the defamation suit damages decided by the Court, what actions can be imposed on the defendant?
ANSWER: If the defendant fails to pay the claim in Court after obtaining an order, there are several steps that can be taken which are:
1. Bankruptcy proceedings if the value obtained exceeds RM100,000
2. Seizure and auction of goods belonging to the defendant
3. Garnishing Proceeding which is the freezing of the defendant’s savings in the bank account and transferred to the plaintiff Or
4. Judgment Creditor’s Summons (i.e. the court’s order to the defendant to pay in installments according to monthly ability) Or, 5. Prohibitory Order, seizure and auction of the defendant’s property.
How and what you need to prepare for a defamation suit.
If you want to file a defamation suit claim, you need to get an advice from a lawyer for more explanation of the defamation suit before starting any further action.
You need to make sure that all documents related to the defamation are printed, saved and keep together for a lawyers to review and evaluate your case.
If defamatory statements are written and spread on social media, WhatsApp or telegram, you need to screenshot of the statement and details about the identity of the person who spread the defamatory statement. If the slanderous statement is in the form of a conversation, you need to make sure that you have a witness who can testify on your behalf.
Dato’ Safee bin Daud v Raj A/L Gopal  10 MLJ 203, Kuala Lumpur High Court.
The plaintiff (Dato’ Safee) is a famous Malaysian businessman and the defendant (Raj) is a journalist. The defendant has made two defamatory statements on his Twitter account regarding the Plaintiff at different times. The Plaintiff states that the Defendant’s defamatory statements can be read by anyone because it’s public and can be access by anyone and he has thousands of followers, including well known corporate figures, politicians and media personalities.
Court decision: The court found that the statement made by the Defendant met the criteria of defamation against the Plaintiff. The court ordered general damages of RM300,000.00, excessive damages of RM200,000.00 and an injunction to prevent the Defendant, his assistants and agents from further defaming the Plaintiff.
Furthermore, the Court agrees that the Plaintiff is a well-known person in society and business, locally, regionally and abroad; someone who is held in high esteem and whose reputation would be seriously affected by the defamatory statements made by the Defendant.
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