Monday 8 October 2012

Chamil Wariya, Utusan apologise to Teresa Kok

  • Hafiz Yatim
  • 2:25PM Oct 8, 2012
Malaysian Press Institute chairperson Chamil Wariya and Utusan Malaysia have apologised to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok for slander in an article entitled Politik Baru YBJ, published by the Sunday edition of the Umno-owned daily on Oct 12, 2008.

Chamil's lawyer Zalil Mohd Mess in a statement of apology read out in the Kuala Lumpur High Court today, said the article had been twisted by Mingguan Malaysia without his agreement.

um book launching 021205 chamil wariya"Not only has my work been twisted by Utusan Malaysia, I was not even consulted on the changes," Chamil (right) said in the apology.
"However, they used my name in the article and I was not paid a honorarium for the work."

The settlement was recorded before Justice Abdul Hamid Sultan Backer.

Teresa Kok's lawyer Sankara Nair told the court that she did not seek costs from Chamil.

He said Utusan Malaysia had to pay RM50,000 as costs as part of the settlement and the publisher has agreed to carry an apology in Mingguan Malaysia.
Chamil, in expressing regret several times that his work had been used in such manner, said he sincerely apologises to Kok and readers if his work has hurt those involved.

He said the (rewriting of the) article - a short story - was directed at creating a wedge between him and Kok.

“I regret that Utusan had edited my work from its original form in an unprofessional and unethical manner which was beyond my knowledge. It was done without my approval. I am not responsible for this,” his lawyer read from a four-page statement.

azlan“In my work sent to the Mingguan Malaysia editor I clearly stated the difference in the YBJ character and that of the Seputeh MP. In my original work, it is stated that YBJ is (somewhat like) YB Teresa Kok (left) but YBJ is not Teresa Kok."

Describing the changes made as "not small", Chamil claimed it was fundamental to changing the story.

He believed that the changes to Kok’s name and position were purposely done by Mingguan Malaysia for the purpose of creating further controversy and scandal.

“As a result of this, Kok and I have become victims in the scandal,” said Chamil.
He acknowledged that editors and publishers have the right to change the original script, but said the changes have to be referred to the writer for approval.

“In this case, the changes did not get my approval. They did not contact nor inform me at all. That is why I do not consider the publication of this article as my original work, although my name is stated on it.”

'Mingguan plagiarised my work' 

Chamil said he had explained this to Kok’s lawyer on receipt of the letter.

“I would like to stress that Mingguan plagiarised my original work and changed the characters resulting in it appearing different from the original work.
"What makes me upset is that my name and photo were used. The fact that I did not get a honorarium is more proof that Mingguan did not think that this is my work.”
Chamil further said his reputation as a writer has been deeply tarnished.

“I have been criticised, scorn has been poured on me and I've always felt I was doubted in the cyber-world as if I had committed a big sin, when I had nothing to do with this ...,” he said.
Utusan’s lawyer TKB Mohana Kumar objected to Chamil’s strong words and assertions and asked the court to record this.

He read out Utusan’s apology which stated that, after reading Chamil’s original work which referred to Anwar Ibrahim, Umno and PAS, changes were made to the original work.
It also said Chamil had referred to Kok in his original work, which had been changed.

“We did not intend to refer to Kok in any way and sincerely we regret and apologise to her over the misunderstanding caused as a result of the publication of this article,” he said.

Utusan has agreed to publish the apology in its weekend edition Sudut Sastera

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