THE Workers’ Party, its leader J.B. Jeyaretnam and veteran member A. Balakrishnan are appealing against a High Court judgment asking them to pay S$265,000 in damages plus legal costs in a defamation case.
“We are not paying. We are appealing against the judgment,” Mr Jeyaretnam told Reuters news agency yesterday, adding that he had not seen the bills for the costs – likely to amount to at least S$250,000 – that must be paid by him and the other two defendants.
He declined to talk to The Straits Times when he was contacted in his office yesterday after the oral judgment was delivered by Justice Goh Joon Seng on Monday. The judge ruled that an article in the August 1995 issue of WP’s newsletter, The Hammer, defamed 10 members of the committee which organised the first Tamil Language Week from April 8, 1995.
The article in Tamil, alleging that they were government stooges out to obtain and curry favour with the authorities, was written by Mr Balakrishnan.
It was published by WP in the newsletter edited by Mr Jeyaretnam, who is the secretary-general of the opposition party.