KUALA LUMPUR: Former transport minister Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat filed a RM12 million defamation suit against businessman Tan Sri Robert Phang Miow Sin for his statements carried by the Chinese press.

Ong, 58, filed the suit through legal firm Messrs Tan, Goh and Associates at the Seremban High Court on Tuesday.

The former Pandan Member of Parliament (MP) is claiming RM8 million for general damages and RM4 million for aggravated damages or an amount deemed fit by the court.

According to his statement of claim, Phang, 75, allegedly uttered defamatory words concerning his character and conduct, through a press release published in several articles.

Ong claimed Phang's statements were published in June by vernacular newspapers Nanyang Siang Pau, Sin Chew Daily, China Press and Oriental Daily.

Plaintiff's counsel Tan Foong Luen told reporters at a press conference in Cheras today that they will send a letter to Phang's counsel S.N. Nair to notify the defendant of the matter.

The former MCA president claimed that Phang refused to retract his statement, which allegedly contained defamatory remarks, and apologise after being issued a letter of demand dated Aug 19, 2014.