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Berjaya founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan seeks $44.7 million and apology over defamation from Kedah Chief Minister Sanusi

Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Berjaya Land Berhad demand a public apology and RM200 million ($44.7 million) for defamation from Kedah’s caretaker Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.

Sanusi’s alleged defamatory remarks were made on 2 August during a Perikatan Nasional event concerning the Selangor Maritime Gateway Project.



MALAYSIA: Berjaya Corporation Berhad (BCorp) founder, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and Berjaya Land Berhad (Berjaya Land) are demanding a public apology and RM200 million (approximately $44.7 million) in compensation for defamation from the caretaker Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Kedah state, Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.

The defamatory and untrue remarks against both Tan and Berjaya Land were made by Sanusi on 2 August at a Perikatan Nasional (PN) event related to the Selangor Maritime Gateway (SMG) Project, according to a statement by Berjaya Land.

The statement highlighted seven excerpts from a speech given by Sanusi during the “Jelajah Mega PN Best” event, accusing Tan of being the “tauke” or boss of caretaker Selangor Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari.

Amirudin Shari had earlier denied the allegation, refuted that Sanusi’s statement was clearly slanderous, and threaten to sue the latter.

Berjaya Land unequivocally denied these allegations and issued a comprehensive rebuttal via a press release on 4 August, correcting the false and misleading statements made by Sanusi.

Demand for apology and compensation

On Saturday (5 Aug), lawyers representing Tan and Berjaya Land served a letter of demand to Sanusi, outlining five specific requests:

  1. Removal and retraction of all defamatory statements referring to Tan and Berjaya Land.
  2. A public apology to be published on a platform determined by the lawyers.
  3. A written undertaking by Sanusi to refrain from repeating or publishing such statements in the future.
  4. Another written undertaking from Sanusi to cease and desist from sharing such statements in any manner.
  5. Agreement to pay RM200 million in compensation to Tan and Berjaya Land.

The statement cautioned that failure to comply with these demands by the end of the business day of Tuesday (8 Aug) would result in legal action.

In the statement, Tan said, “These defamatory statements has tarnished my and Berjaya Land’s integrity, credit, reputation and image. These accusations have cast doubt and raised unwarranted suspicions over our legitimate business endeavours and philanthropic activities.”

“We want to send a strong message that anyone making false and damaging statements about us will not be tolerated and we shall hold them accountable for their actions.”

Additionally, Tan and Berjaya Land have filed police reports against Sanusi and bloggers such as Murray Hunter, Badrul Hisham Shaharin (also known as Chegubard), and Raja Petra Kamarudin for similar statements made about the SMG Project under Section 499 of the Penal Code, which addresses criminal defamation.

This section criminalizes any speech or publication containing words that could cause harm to a person’s reputation, with potential penalties including imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, or both.

Sanusi’s allegation

Sanusi, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) election director, reportedly made statements insinuating a connection between Tan and the Selangor caretaker Chief Minister.

Sanusi suggested that Tan had intentions to embark on a substantial RM10 billion project along the Klang River. This project, Sanusi claimed, involved a substantial 600-acre land allocation from the state and was in collaboration with Menteri Besar Incorporated.

Sanusi further posited that this venture could potentially incur a significant RM180 million loss for the state government.

Sanusi raised questions about the decision to award this expansive 600-acre land parcel to Tan, labeling him as a “towkay” or influential figure. His concerns extended to the issue of Tan potentially acquiring a controlling 55 percent stake in Menteri Besar Incorporated’s subsidiaries.

These remarks stirred a storm of controversy, with Sanusi’s assertion painting the situation as a ticking time bomb, ready to explode into a contentious debate.

Furthermore, Sanusi underscored PN’s commitment to public service over the defense of influential figures like Tan or Indonesian magnate Mohamad Reza Chalid.

Sanusi went on to reportedly brand Selangor’s Chief Minister, Amirudin, as a “cokia” or subpar Chief Minister who appeared to advocate for the interests of these influential figures.

Sanusi and PN are currently campaigning for the upcoming six-state election, scheduled for polling day on 12 August. This election could potentially serve as an indicator of public sentiment towards the Unity Government led by 10th Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

In response, Amirudin Shari, the caretaker Chief Minister of Selangor, clarified that he had extensively addressed the matter in the Selangor state legislative assembly and a parliamentary session on 1 March of the same year.

“It is an attempt by a desperado who wants to shift the perception from all scandalous REE claims made against him. He has until now failed to factually answer all of the claims,” said Amirudin in a statement on Friday.

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