When I was taking my usual drive to work today, I never thought I was going to stumble on this piece of news that really question the legal knowledge and reasoning of some Malaysian these days.

KOTA KINABALU: The director of a fish head curry restaurant which is recommended by Lonely Planet is suing a blogger and Google for defamation.

Jothys Sdn Bhd director Tharumaraj Sivaperumal filed a RM6mil civil suit at the Kota Kinabalu High Court, naming blogger Poh Huai Bin as the first defendant and California-based Google Inc as the second defendant.

Thursday, January 27 2011

Now I may not be the best law graduate in town, nor am I dumb enough to believe that an issue like this would actually amount of a defamation case worthy of taking it to court. According to what was reported, the shop owner claims that after the negative posting made by Sdr. SixthSeal on their range of food in their shop, the shop saw a steady decline on customers as well as damaged reputation for their business. For that, they can justify the amount of RM6 MILLION in damages.

Read the abovementioned post here

Picture credited to TheStar Online

Without even using any legal knowledge and basing this argument over basic common sense, this is a proof of a common abuse of what the Malaysian Law protects, on the simple grounds that a mere mention of distaste on the service and product of the restaurant should not amount to what is claimed as defamation. For me I find this an insult to bloggers everywhere, just because we didn't like your food does not give you the opportunity to make a quick buck out of people.

Imagine this scenario, when you dine in a restaurant somewhere in town, the food taste horrible and you decided to tell this to a bunch of your friends. Do you think that this would amount to a lawsuit case of defamation?

Quite frankly this is what happens when there are parties out there who would want to capitalize on the people's lack of knowledge of what the law is all about. Let it be known that I am not really a reader of Sdr. SixthSeal writings, nor do I personally know him in any way. However to say that he should be charged over his "food review" is a major misinterpretation of the legal meaning of the "Defamation" for two reasons:

1. The statement made must be based on false information and made specifically to injure the reputation of the  other party, in this sense all he made was a really bad review of the food which is subjective to the person's perspective.

2. The amount claimed should be based on a reasonable sum, ie. I doubt that a small banana leaf rice shop can amount business earnings up to RM6 mil!

It is not enough that our friend here wants to sue the blogger, he is also trying to do the impossible.

He took on Google itself (who ironically just opened an office in KL. Talk about first business of the day...).

Picture credit to TheStar Online

So many opinions that I would have to say on this, especially on trying to stain the credibility of bloggers in Malaysia. I wonder what you guys would have to say on this matter. Let's hear em.

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  1. I'm very sure that sixthseal is definitely raking high unique visitors by now... hahaha... what the restaurant owner should done is, improve his restaurant's image & food of course instead of summoning for mistakes that clearly can be rectified by him...

  2. Well, its not what you say its how you say it. I think bloggers need understand that & practice self-censorship. There's nothing wrong with his honest review but to claim 'the worst fish head curry restaurant in the universe' & 'avoid it like a bad case of herpes' was totally uncalled for & insensitive.

  3. I think that bad reviews are supposed to be seen as publicity as well. I for one, when people give a really bad review, I wanna try it out myself and see if it's true. IF the review given are false, then it wouldn't effect the shop in anyway at all. What is bad is that while making the defamation claim, the shop did not improve it's quality whatsoever. I agree that it is an insult to bloggers.