MIRI (Aug 14): Samling Plywood Sdn Bhd ( Samling) said it held back suing SAVE Rivers organization for defamation until two days to expiry of the statutory limitation period as it had preferred an amicable resolution.
The company said this in response to the report entitled “Samling sues SAVE Rivers for alleged defamation” published on August 10 in The Borneo Post which had earlier contacted it for comments on the legal suit.
It described an accusation by Bruno Manser Fonds in a statement accusing Samling of instituting legal action against SAVE Rivers despite the initiation of a dispute resolution case by the MTCC (Malaysian Timber Certification Council) as inaccurate as the later had ample time and opportunity to respond to overtures by the company and its subsequent Letter of Demand.
“Samling exercised great restraint in this matter by waiting until the one year statutory limitation period applicable in Sarawak for defamation was about to expire, before filing our defamation suit against SAVE Rivers and its team, “ said the statement.
The suit was filed in Miri High Court on 21 June 2021 against SAVE Rivers and its directors.
Samling contended that the allegations made by SAVE Rivers in several articles, published on the website known as saverivers.org (‘the SAVE Rivers website’), in respect of Samling are baseless and defamatory.
SAVE Rivers alleged that the certification issued by SIRIM QAS International in favour of Samling was allegedly done without compliance with due processes and thereby allegedly in violation of the rights of the indigenous communities.
Samling said such allegations not only seriously damaged – and continue to damage – Samling’s reputation and jeopardized its business dealings with third parties, but also undermined the integrity and adequacy of the processes undertaken by MTCC and SIRIM QAS International.
The company pointed out that when the first article published on 23rd June 2020 appeared on the SAVE Rivers website, the MTCC in a clarification dated 13th August 2020 and titled “Commentary: Processes involved in Granting Certification Under the MTCS”, had clarified that Samling had indeed satisfactorily fulfilled the requisite certification requirements.
The company said it sent a Letter of Demand to SAVE Rivers and its team for a retraction of the allegations in order to safeguard Samling’s interests as well as preserve the integrity of MTCC’s certification processes and also conciliatorily agreed to a request for extension of time.
Samling said it had endeavoured to find an amicable solution by reaching out personally to SAVE Rivers’ director Mr. Peter Kallang long before the commencement of legal action but its efforts were not reciprocated.
Defense lawyer Simon Siah said SAVE River is contesting the suit.