Court frees The Edge editor emeritus of criminal defamation charges over penny stock
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Azam Aris, the editor emeritus of local business newspaper The Edge, was today acquitted and discharged of one criminal defamation charge after being sued for defamation over two articles on penny stock manipulation published in 2020 and 2021.
However, Azam was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for the second charge, The Edge reported.
Azam was charged in September with two counts of criminal defamation at the Magistrate’s Court against a Malaysian businessman and four firms over two articles titled “Hidden Hands Behind Penny Stocks Surge Under Scrutiny” (April 12, 2021) and “Hidden Hands Behind Penny Stock Surge” (September 21, 2020) that exposed stock manipulation on Bursa Malaysia.
At the time of the publication, he was the newspaper’s editor-in-chief. He stepped down from that position in November last year and was subsequently appointed emeritus editor. In the second charge, The Edge’s contributing editor, M. Shanmugam was also named in the complaint but was abroad at the time charges were made.
The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) had asked for a DNAA back in September for him and he was present in court today.
Magistrate Shahril Anuar Ahmad Mustapa decided to give the DNAA to Azam on the second charge instead of a full acquittal.
“Even though the court did not give a full acquittal for the second case, we are happy that the AGC has agreed to withdraw both charges. These charges should never have been made in the first place, as we were just doing our job exposing share manipulation on Bursa Malaysia which could hurt many investors,” The Edge Group publisher Datuk Ho Kay Tat said in response to today’s court decision.