26 March 2021 [2021] 2 MLRA Peguam Negara Malaysia v. MKINI Dotcom Sdn Bhd & Anor 435 prompted the third-party online subscribers to make comments (“impugned comments”) on the Malaysiakini’s website on 9 June 2020 that scandalised the judiciary in general and the Chief Justice of the Federal Court in particular. The respondents were only affixed with knowledge of the impugned comments on 12 June 2020. A week after the impugned comments were published, on 15 June 2020, the AG, by way of an ex parte notice of motion in encl 2, applied for leave to commence committal proceedings against both respondents for publishing the impugned comments. The respondents in encl 22 applied to set aside the application of the AG, citing the grounds that the AG’s application failed to disclose a prima facie case as well as for procedural non-compliance. This court dismissed encl 22 and held that a prima facie case had been made out by virtue of s 114A of the Evidence Act 1950 (“EA”), where the respondents were deemed to have published the impugned comments. Consequently, this court granted the AG leave to commence committal proceedings against the respondents, under O 52 r 3(1) of the Rules of Court 2012 (“ROC”). The respondents’ line of defence was that they had no knowledge of the impugned comments. The respondents’ position was also that neither of them moderated or played any direct role in publishing the impugned comments on the news portal. As for the 2nd respondent, he denied any involvement since he was not the “Content Application Service Provider” within the meaning of s 6 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (“CMA”). In addition to this, it was the 2nd respondent’s position that there was no legal basis to hold him vicariously liable for the 1st respondent’s acts. Held (in finding that a case of contempt beyond reasonable doubt had been made out against the 1st respondent, the 1st respondent was sentenced with a fine of RM500,000): Per Rohana Yusuf PCA, Azahar Mohamed CJM, Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim CJSS, Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Abdul Rahman Sebli FCJJ (majority judgment) (1) On the issue of procedural non-compliance, ie for the applicant’s failure to issue a formal notice to show cause, it was held that the respondents were aware of the application by the AG when learned counsel for the respondents appeared on the date of the ex parte hearing. As such the non-issuance of a formal notice did not prejudice the respondents. There was no denial of the right to appeal open to the respondents as the Apex Court was duty-bound to deal with any scurrilous attacks on the Judiciary to uphold the image, integrity and public confidence in the Judiciary. As for the procedural non-compliance concerning the naming of the 2nd respondent as “Ketua Editor, Malaysiakini” instead of “Editor-in-Chief ”, it was held so long as the party and the capacity in which he was being sued was identifiable, such error did not cause injustice, hence not fatal to the case. (paras 9-13) (2) The presumption under s 114A of the EA described the process whereby, upon the proof of the required basic fact or facts, the existence of the presumed

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