Blogger Jeff Ooi today openly apologised to New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad (NSTP) and its three former senior management staff over defamatory statements made in his blog, five years ago.
In the agreed statement read out in open court through his counsel Asma Mohd Yunus, Ooi Chuan Aun, who is also the Member of Parliament for Jelutong, said he regretted that the statements were ever published.
Reading out the same statement, counsel Tan Sri Cecil Abraham representing NSTP, the then deputy chairman of NSTP Datuk Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, its former group editor-in-chief Datuk Hishamuddin Aun and its former group editor Brenden Pereira, said Ooi stated that he had acted bona fide and without malice.
"However, he (Ooi) appreciates that his allegations may have caused the plaintiffs embarrassment and inconvenience and regrets the same. As such, the defendant (Ooi) now wishes to state that he retracts all allegations and publications which form the subject matter of these proceedings," he said.
Abraham said in the course of publishing the statements in his weblog (Ooi's), some of the statements were taken from rockybru.blogspot.com.
He said the plaintiffs maintained that the allegations were libellous and were without foundation and had caused the plaintiffs considerable distress, embarrassment and inconvenience.
The agreed statement was recorded by High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad in open court.
She also allowed the suit to be struck out and ordered both parties to bear their own costs with no liberty to file a fresh suit.
Speaking to reporters later, Kalimullah said he was glad that the case had been resolved after four years the damage was done.
In August 2004, the four had sued Ooi for posting a series of defamatory statements from Feb 16, 2006 until Dec 4, 2006, in his blog.
In its statement of claim, NSTP claimed that the defamatory statements, among others, meant that NSTP had tampered with its journalists' reports in order to propagate points of view to please its political masters.
Ooi in his statement of defence countered that he had not embarked on a consistent and continuing course of conduct to defame and injure the plaintiffs as contended.