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Defamation Law in Malaysia

February 29th, 2008 · 53 Comments

defamation.jpg 

As mentioned in my previous post, one of the greatest risk faced by bloggers is defamation suit. For example, one of the well known Malaysian blogger, Jeff Ooi was sued by NST for defamation in mid of January 2007.

Therefore, I would think it is important to have some basic understanding of the law of defamation in Malaysia.

What is defamation?

To put it in simple term, defamation occurs when a person expresses words that may lower another person’s reputation in the eyes of the public.

There are two types of defamation in Malaysia: libel and slander.

Libel is when such words are expressed in a permanent form which is usually visible to the eye, like in a book, e-mail or picture.

Slander is when such words are expressed in a temporary form, usually when spoken or made by body movements.

What are the laws governing defamation? 

In civil cases of defamation, when a private person sues another private person for defamation, the Defamation Act 1957 is applicable.

In criminal cases of defamation, when the state prosecutes a private person for defamation, Section 499 to Section 502 of the Penal Code is applicable.

What is the punishment if you are held guilty of defamation?

Both libel and slander are civil and criminal offences. Thus, a person who is guilty of libel or slander may be sued in court, and also face jail sentence.

In civil cases, the person so defamed will normally sue the maker of the defamatory words for compensation. The amount of the compensation depends on the damage caused to the reputation of the person suing.

In criminal cases, the punishment for defamation is a jail sentence for a maximum of two years, or a fine, or a combination of a jail sentence and a fine [Section 500-502 Penal Code].

We will look at the creteria costituting defamation in my next post.

So please be careful with your comments in my blog….hahahah! (Just joking)

Tags: -==Legal Tips==-

53 responses so far ↓

  • 1 lukxiufung // Mar 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    is it have to be someone to sue the person 1st? I really don’t know internet also got such rules. But it is nice to have ti as people cant gain advantages against you by words on web.

    But if someone do not use the name but only describe the person and those description can 90% let you know who is it, how?

  • 2 Eddie Law // Mar 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    lukxiufung – though the name of the object is not expressly mentioned but if the reader can infer that the statement or image is actually referred to the object then it may also amount to defamtion. In legal term we call it “innuendo”.

    You may visit this link to find out more http://www.abc.net.au/corp/pubs/legal/lawbook/ch01.htm or check out the explanation in wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innuendo

  • 3 Suzie T.G // Mar 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    In Malaysia, Can public body be defamed?Public body/statutory body suing Mr.X for defamation

  • 4 Malaysian Top Blogger Was Held Liable For Defamation // Mar 29, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    [...] e.g. in US, there are so many cases where bloggers are sued for defamation. As mentioned in my previous post, one of the largest risk faced by blogger is defamation [...]

  • 5 liss // Nov 19, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Then what about the statutary defenses? Im taking communication law this semester. Can u help me? TQ

  • 6 Razinah // Apr 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Can a private person sues another private person for defamation but not under the defamation act? I mean can such private person been sued for defamation under criminal law?

  • 7 hl // May 21, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    hi, recently i have attended Tribunal’s claims and i have written my story in my blog. please kindly help to see my blog and let me know if i offend any laws?

    thanks.

  • 8 Medical student // Jun 9, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Hello, I have a few questions about defaming blogs.
    Is it possible to trace who they are when bloggers do not use their real names?

  • 9 Wondering // Jun 30, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Eddie,

    If an email is sent by a person using anothers’ email account, and replies are sent to the first person (owner of email account ) …will that be defamation?

    Since the email was sent using the account of person 1, there was no way of knowing that someone else was sending the email.

    Can person 1 sue for defamation of character?

    Also I have some questions on whether I can sue for defamation as I have received numerous emails falsely accusing me of not doing my job when in fact the system was down and I could not do what was asked due to the company’s failure to keep the system running ..

    Please help. I have the email and if you will let me know what your personal email is, I will gladly send it to you

    Good day Eddie and thanks for this website…it has allowed me to express my worries out.

    Hope you can help me out ..

  • 10 moodey // Aug 5, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Hi Eddie,

    If I commented on a blog, anonymously, using bogus name.
    and it offended the blogger.
    what charge that is possible the blogger can charge me?

    How can the blogger trace me?

  • 11 Zul // Oct 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Can u give me an examples of libel cases in malaysia??

  • 12 valerie // Oct 23, 2009 at 7:17 am

    sir, i am neither lawyer nor law students, but i am very much interested with law. this is a case i believe could be a defamation of my school’s headmaster. whereby, another staf, who is also a teacher has written down a comment in a blog, engkabang.net. accusing him of being bias towords the staf. what should he(hmastr)react towards the claim?

  • 13 calillac // Mar 30, 2010 at 3:07 am

    hello im a 2nd year student of interpersonal communication. could u email to me more about slander and examples in Malaysia environment. im still not clear on it. and suggestions of books that i could refer to. i need to write a report on that. email to me personally if you dont mind. tqvm.

  • 14 Jessica // Apr 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Hi, I would like to know more about “how to file for defamation”. Could u kindly provide me some info? Thank you very much!

  • 15 Eddie Law // Apr 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Jesscica,

    You should engage a lawyer to file defamation suit against the defendant for you.

  • 16 Mel // Apr 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Hi

    Stumbled upon ur blog while looking for information on suing for defamation. I think u will be able to help me. Can u please email me?

  • 17 Dr.Sharmila // Apr 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    someone i know have put up allegations about me on facebook. I would like to take legal action on this person. how do i go about it.

  • 18 Eddie Law // Apr 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Dr Sharmila, 1st please make a print screen copy of the defamatory remarks, 2nd engage a lawyer and show the same to him. If the lawyer think that such statement is indeed defamatory then he/she may issue a legal letter to demand the wrongdoer to remove the said statement and to pay for compensation, if necessary.

  • 19 Eddie Law // Apr 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Razinah, there is indeed criminal defamation, whereby the prosecutor will take action against the “private person”.

  • 20 Eddie Law // Apr 23, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Hi Medical student, you may use the IP address to trace the identity of the blogger.

  • 21 Eddie Law // Apr 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Moodey, the blogger may trace your IP address. You may be sued under civil or criminal defamation.

  • 22 Saraswathy Shirke // May 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Interesting work Eddie!
    Tort of Defamation is necessary to uphold responsible communication.

  • 23 berry // May 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    can a minor be sued for defamation…leaving in london…for writing bad things on facebook…

  • 24 fairview // Jun 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I’m just wonder where I leaving the current company due to I’m been head-hunted by others that they brought my balanced notice month, but my senior label me as a unprofessional in management meeting could I sue her for defamation.

  • 25 Phoebe Chong // Jun 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    how much is the charges to issue a legal letter under defamation act???

  • 26 ming // Jul 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    If we write general comment on the company policy without mentioning the company or person’s name,will it consider as defamation?

  • 27 Erane // Aug 1, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Hi, may I know the slander need any proof? Already know is who speak out to lower somebody’s reputation.

  • 28 mk // Aug 17, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Dear Eddie,

    Would it be possible to for an individual to sue a company for defamation. I have been shown a Show Cause letter for absence of work saying i have breached Employment Act Sec 15(2). But this is not true as I did inform my immediate manager on my absence. Is this defamation? as this also involves my reputation and integrity as an employee.

  • 29 2mie // Aug 21, 2010 at 11:09 am

    What does the law of Malaysia say, it is possible for the deceased person 2 sue defamation?

  • 30 apple // Aug 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

    dear eddie,

    A legal letter fr a company was sent to my home regarding a post on my blog that was created 2 years ago when i was a student. I was attached to their company as an intern for 2 weeks and therefore i blog the pictures and shared my experience i had those days.what are the charges that i would hav to face for my action as i did not open the content of the legal letter yet as i’m now currently based outstation from my home.

  • 31 Eddie Law // Aug 31, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Apple, you should bring the letter to see your lawyer, he/she will give you better advice.

  • 32 Mr X // Sep 2, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Hi everyone,

    I just wanna check with u my situation is it consider defamation. There is one guy who i knew he uploaded 5 of my photos in facebook which is really ugly & he tag around 60 people in that album.. So from there everyone is making fun of me & jokes around.. I feel annoyed & I told this guy to delete it but he refuse.. Can I make a police reports base on this? I already print screen & save all the pictures & other comment about me..
    your reply is very much appreciated
    Thanks

  • 33 Sad // Sep 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Good day Eddie. 4 yrs ago a colleague of mine wrote a letter to slander me. Only now I have been called-up for a D.I. All this while I have no knowleadge of the report. I have been suspended for almost 4 months. During the 1st D.I. I knew she lied to slander. How can I sue her? And are the legal fees high? Please help me as I am so stressed with all these allegation. Am also so broke while the accuser is still on the job.

  • 34 ida // Oct 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    hi eddie.
    juz wanna know, if a blogger post a defamatory article (eg from yahoo.blog), apart from the blogger himself can yahoo.blog be sued?

  • 35 Hoh Yoke Teng // Dec 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Hi, thank you for ur blog..is very useful to me

    I need your advice.
    My sister last year broke up with her ex-boyfriend, since then the ex-boyfriend sent some emails to my sister and some having sense of threatening my sister.

    Recently, we suspected he created an unknown account in facebook then keep on sending the email to insult my sister by describing my sister with very rude words. Now he is not only insult my sister, but to my family members and relatives. However, he used an bogus name which is abused my sister name.

    So can it constitute of defamation?
    I hope you reply me as soon as possible as our family is now threatening by what he did now and we have no proof to show is him. But there were emails from last year can proof is sent by him.

    Thanks

  • 36 kay // Jan 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Hi,

    Do you know a cheap but good hosting company in Malaysia ?

    Thanks.

  • 37 roy // Feb 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    is there any problem statement which relate to defamation on the workplace in malaysia?

  • 38 rc // Feb 22, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Hi Eddie,

    I have been issued a legal demand letter by my employer for a public apology and RM ? Mil damages for replying a grievences letter for a Warning letter and cc. ( shared ) my grivences in the IR Dept. There is no report made or any complaints file nor recorded in the IR Dept and its all share in P & C.

    I have apologise in my grivences letter and a verbal apology made earlier.
    Pls advise

  • 39 jessica // Feb 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Hi There. If a person has done a fraud and now is paying back on a monthly basis, where does she/he stands in m’sian law?

    please reply back.

    thank you.

  • 40 yee // Feb 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    hi, tis is great tat to know tat our country has rule on defamation. but, most the time, ppl r not using actual account n real name to libel others, so how can v take action on tis?

  • 41 F C // Mar 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I collect scam data from various websites, compile and repost to the internet. I did not add, alter or give my personal opinion. I did not even post full denunciation by the original writer, just the company name. The purpose of my list is just to give alerts to buyers to be cautious when dealing with the listed. Now a China company is harassing me, threaten to take legal action. Did I do anything wrong?

    You can google my name FoRoAoU CoHoIoN (omit the o) and see my work in FW. The company is listed in my ALERT L.

  • 42 Joe Ng // Mar 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Hi. Thanks for the information. I have a question. If a person purposely accuse a business institute (shop) of cheating without a valid proff and spread the accussation to the public in order to spoil the institution’s reputation and business, is this defamation?

    Your reply is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    Joe

  • 43 amirali // May 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Hi. I have big media law exam tomorrow and our lecture have post something about defamation and sedition.. I was reading that for 2 hours long but I couldn’t understand a single word, but after reading your blog I realize what is it and how easy it is. thanks for the great explaining, and I wish that you were our lecture.

  • 44 siow // May 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Hi eddie, i am an university student. One of my class doesn’t like me and started to do something funny. She is trying to open a group for the person that anti me to join. But the thing is, all my classmate are my friends. So everybody came and tell me. Although she hasn’t open it yet, but this already become a hot topic in my classroom. I am really not happy with it. I plan to sued her after she open it. But at this mean time, what can i do? Just sit and watch?

  • 45 Jacqueline Teo // May 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    If one relate a true experience of a scammer on facebook and his intention is to create awareness to other business people to be careful of the scammer, can the scammer’s family member who is a lawyer sue this person for defamation?

  • 46 Eddie Law // May 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    If you can proof what you said is true, then I think you would have a strong defence.

  • 47 Jacqueline Teo // May 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for the prompt response, Eddie. Appreciate it.

  • 48 Fadzil // Jun 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Eddie,

    I was just wondering is there a maximum amount of damages one can sue for in Malaysia for defamation?

    and can you give me an estimation of how much a lawyer would cost in malaysia?

  • 49 Melor // Jul 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Is this Act applicable to a blogger who simply posted photos that he/she took from somone’s Fb which is the album was set private. (Private collection)

    Secondly, the photos tt uploaded are intended to insult/embarassed the person.
    i.e: Girl in nude. Can also charge him under distribution of pornographic stuff,meh?

    Thank You.

  • 50 Ramble Oxley // Aug 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Dear Eddie,

    My case for defamation has come up to the final stage. I was told by my lawyer that the people I sued being charge under ‘contempt of court’ or ‘JID (Judgement in Default’. What happen next? Your kind advice please.

  • 51 Victims // Aug 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Can other people do vetting illegally on others people and exposed it to others. Are this defaming. Is our personal file with the law are considered confidential and safe.

  • 52 kd cheng // Oct 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

    can respondents suit a petitioner’s lawyer for defamation for making false accusations(written submissions) to obtain injunction from a high court? furthermore, the court is convinced that an act 181 oppression has occurred due to false police report by the petitioner. thank you.

  • 53 Sukey // May 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I’m lucky to found your blog, your information really help me a lot on my assignments :D

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