Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) is suing Umno-controlled English daily New Straits Times for linking him to thugs.
He said that the daily’s online report, titled "Indian-interest group claims thugs interrupted meeting", on Wednesday alleged that he and his deputy Dr P. Ramasamy sent thugs to stop a non-governmental organisation's meeting.
"We have consulted our lawyers. As the report is defamatory, we ask the daily to issue an open apology, and pay the necessary damages and costs. It was malicious of the NST again.
"How can the paper publish something it knows to be false? The NST has a motive of deliberately spreading lies to tarnish our reputation.
"This is not my first suit against the paper and I am sure it will not be the last. The NST has been on a rampage against me and the state government."
In the report, NST quoted N. Ganeson, a spokesperson of the Concerned Citizens of the Indian Community, who claimed that thugs disturbed a meeting by the NGO.
According to Ganeson, they threatened to cause hurt and tried to stop a petition from being sent to the state government as the group was unhappy over issues on the Batu Lanchang crematorium, which was under the purview of the state's Hindu Endowment Board headed by Ramasamy.
"We talk about press freedom but to them (the NST) press freedom is the freedom to spread lies. This will never happen in the West where the media knows they can be sued.
Just last month Lim took the NST to task for a report which alleged that the DAP interfered in state religious matters.
The news report was on Penang PAS making demands to the state government for more say and positions.
The party also demanded for the state exco to stay out of the state religious council affairs which were under the council chairman Datuk Mohd Salleh Man from PAS.
Salleh denied the report, saying that his party never accused the DAP of meddling in religious affairs. He also reportedly said legal action against the daily would be considered.