I was featured in The Star Newspaper’s article entitled “When social media rants can land you in court” on 5 January 2018 on the issue of reviewing a business online. I said the following:-
Meanwhile, Bar Council cyberlaw and information technology committee co-chairman Foong Cheng Leong told The Star that a person was free to post a review of a restaurant, on Facebook or elsewhere.
However, he said such a review should not be defamatory.
“Defamatory statements would mean the statement would expose the plaintiff to hatred, ridicule or contempt in the mind of a reasonable man, or would tend to lower the plaintiff in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public generally,” he said.
Nonetheless, Foong said sometimes it is hard to differentiate between what is defamatory or not.
“Generally, insults, negative reviews, or statements of opinion are fine. I can always say a restaurant food is terrible. It is fair comment.”
The interview by The Star Newspaper was a follow up of a decision by the High Court of Malaya in the case of Champ’s Express Heritage Sdn Bhd & Anor v Pak Loo Ke (Kuala Lumpur High Court Suit No. 23NCVC-94-12/2015). The High Court held that the Defendant had defamed the Plaintiffs when she published a posting on the 1st Plaintiff’s Champ’s Bistro, BSC. The Facebook posting had questioned the level of hygiene of the Plaintiffs’ food and also the 3rd Plaintiff, who is the founder of the 1st and 2nd Plaintiffs, among others. The same posting was made the Defendant’s Instagram account. The Defendant was a kitchen helper for 2 weeks before she published the alleged defamatory postings.
The Star Newspaper reported that the Plaintiff had succeeded in proving defamation, and the Defendant had failed in her defence of justification and fair comment.