Updated: First, a small correction. Chamil's cerpen (short story) was published by Mingguan Malaysia, which is the weekly edition of Utusan Malaysia. The Mingguan has its own set of editorial staff and is headed by its own Editor.
YB Teresa Kok was a character in the original Politic Baru YB J. I spoke to Chamil on the phone to get the real story about the "apology". An intriguing episode, indeed!
First and foremost, Chamil said he did not attack Utusan Malaysia or its editors in his "apology" to YB Teresa Kok. "I was making references to the professional conduct of a certain editor".
Secondly, he did not apologize to Teresa Kok for defaming her. "I cannot apologize for something I did not do. But I'm sorry if the cerpen that was published by Mingguan Malaysia had hurt her or any of my readers' feelings".
And what was published by Mingguan on 12 Oct 2008, according to Chamil, was not what he had written.
In the original cerpen he had sent to Mingguan for publication, Chamil actually had the real YB Teresa Kok as one of his characters. Chamil describes YB Teresa in the cerpen as quite the opposite to what the fictional YB J, the main character in the cerpen, stands for!
In the cerpen that was published in Mingguan, however, the real YB Teresa Kok, the MP for Seputeh, was replaced (without Chamil's consent) with another fictional character YB Su Lan, MP for Sepohon Beringin.
What was the wisdom of introducing YB Teresa Kok as a character in a fiction?
Chamil explained to me that he had done so in his original cerpen so that nobody could accuse him or Mingguan Malaysia of trying to malign Teresa indirectly by way of the fictional YB J.
"If you have the real YB Teresa and the fictional YB J in the same story, you can tell that they are two different personalities altogether."
Original postingIn her suit, Teresa claimed Chamil’s article contained defamatory contents that either directly or by implication or by imputation referred to her. She contended, among others, the article implied she was a racist, an untrustworthy person and a bad politician. Teresa, also a Selangor state executive councillor, said it lowered her esteem in the eyes of the public and exposed her to public scandal, ridicule, odium and contempt. Among others, she sought compensatory damages of RM30mil from the defendants.
|Four years earlier: My Oct 2008 posting on Chamil|
I've gotten sued before and I have been threatened with suits too for postings on this blog. I've had to express "regret" outside of court and issued an "apology" inside court along the way. And as in my case, I am sure Chamil would have also given up his right to speak openly about the "settlement". Unlike Chamil, though, I have never had to blame anyone for the offending articles I had posted, so Chamil's decision to turn against his former colleagues in Utusan Malaysia is intriguing, to say the very least.
And it's not even over a news report or analysis. It's a cerpen. A work of fiction!
Read CW should resign from MPI.
Ah, Chamil Wariya .. (versi 2007)