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Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri (right) shakes hand with Joseph Tawie at the Kuching High Court. - NSTP/Mohd Roji Kawi

KUCHING: The High Court here today ordered a former journalist to apologise to Batang Sadong member of parliament Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri for defaming her on Facebook in May last year.

Judge Supang Lian ordered Joseph Tawie, 74, to apologise to Nancy verbally during the proceedings today and to publish a statement of apology on Facebook, in The Borneo Post and the New Sarawak Tribune within three days from today.

She also ordered Joseph to bear RM25,000 in costs, with the initial RM10,000 to be paid within 30 days of the order.

Joseph, in his Facebook posts on May 10 and 13, had alleged that Nancy, who is former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, had abused her power and instructed the Tuai Rumah of Sungai Bulu in Sadong Jaya, not to attend the Gawai celebration attended by Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.

He also claimed that Nancy had directed the tuai rumah not to cooperate with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“I wish to apologise to Nancy and the state government for publishing defamatory statements containing false allegations without any prior independent investigation,” said Joseph during the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Nancy said she would forgive him as she believes everyone, regardless of race or religion, must be given the opportunity to redeem themselves.

“It’s more about my dignity and reputation because I know I did not do anything as alleged. That’s why I went all out (to bring the matter to court),” she said.

She said although Malaysia enjoys a democratic society with freedom of speech, there were consequences for defamation.

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