Of Google, Jothys’ Fishhead Curry v. Mr. Sixthseal.com

Disclaimer: All the contents of below post are content reproduced from relevant sources eg: Lowyat.net, The Star Malaysia, sixthseal.com, etc. All comments below are owned by the commentators themselves and does not reflect the opinions of this blog’s author.

(Picture is a courtesy of Lowyat.net)

You may, and may not know this, but Google has decided to open their doors here in Malaysia, right here in KL soon, and I’m assuming that there will be loads of working opportunities available for Malaysians. Soon you might hear Malaysians telling you that they’re working for Google, and it might be nothing but the truth.

A lot of people may have anticipate Google in Malaysia for various reasons. Most of it because Google will provide working opportunities and career advancement, but I daresay that Google had no idea that they’d be facing a lawsuit once they landed in Malaysia. What a way to welcome a huge conglomerate like Google.

I’m sure most of you have read this particular articles in The Star:

KOTA KINABALU: The director of a fish head curry restaurant which is recommended by Lonely Planet is suing a blogger and Google for defamation.

Jothys Sdn Bhd director Tharumaraj Sivaperumal filed a RM6mil civil suit at the Kota Kinabalu High Court, naming blogger Poh Huai Bin as the first defendant and California-based Google Inc as the second defendant.

The suit filed on Monday is over allegedly defamatory statements made about Jothys Fish Head Curry Restaurant here which was posted in May last year by Poh, who is originally from Sibu, Sarawak and now resides in Kuala Lumpur.

The company, which is represented by counsel Marcel Jude Joseph, is seeking exemplary or punitive damages and an order to restrain Poh from defaming the restaurant on the Internet.

Lonely place: Tharumaraj says business at his restaurant in Kota Kinabalu has been affected by the blogger’s negative postings.

The company is also seeking an order from the court to remove the offending articles from Google and other popular search engines used on the Internet.

The company claimed that the alleged defamatory statements published by both defendants would be injurious to its business.

Tharumaraj said he felt very let down when the blogger demeaned his fish head curry and banana leaf restaurant and urged the people to “avoid it like a bad case of herpes”.

“There were many people who posted positive things about my restaurant in his blog but it was removed and only the negative chats were kept,’’ he said, adding that he did not know the blogger.

On why he decided to sue Google, he said if one used Yahoo or other search engines, the offending blog does not appear immediately but in Google, it would show up first.

As a result of the defendants’ action, Tharumaraj claimed he suffered losses and damages and his restaurant’s reputation had been affected, both locally and internationally.

The plaintiff claimed that the restaurant, which opened in 1987, was known globally and had been reported as a well-known destination in Sabah in a global TV and book series known as Lonely Planet, which was an authority for tourists throughout the world.

The company also claimed that Google conducts business within the jurisdiction of Malaysian courts by reason of the fact that its search engine is used regularly by Internet users in the country.

When contacted, a Google official in Kuala Lumpur said the company could not comment on cases that were in litigation.

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All right, since The Star is a mainstream newspaper and is not allowed to  re-published the entire ‘defamatory’ article (actually, it’s not defamatory, it’s libel, duh!) for the entire Netizen to see in order to protect the innocent people from the ugliness of a lawsuit, this is the article Google and Mr. Sixthseal.com aka Mr. Poh Huai Bin was sued for… it’s this exact article below. CLICK on the picture to read it.

Just so that you know…while Jothys’ Fishhead Curry have every single rights to sue this particular blogger for defamation/libel, but according to law, Mr. Sixthseal aka Mr. Poh Huai Bin also have every single rights to counter the lawsuit with ‘justified truth’.

Okay, maybe you’re not familiar with all these legal term. But I’m quite familiar with it because as I was in journalism line before, and we were forced to paint these legal terms in our brain like a tattoo:

Defamation- Defamation occurs when a person expresses words that may lower another person’s reputation in the eyes of the public.

Libel-  Libel is when such words are expressed in a permanent form which is usually visible to the eye, like in a book, e-mail or picture.

Slander- Slander is when such words are expressed in a temporary form, usually when spoken or made by body movements.

Justified truth- definition of knowledge that states for someone to have knowledge of something, it must be true, it must be believed to be true, and the belief must be justified.

I’m 100% sure that Mr. Sixthseal was not the only one who commented negatively on a certain food joint. A lot of other food bloggers criticizes what they eat and most give honest opinions on what they eat, and usually, instead of suing one another, if certain food joints received negative comments about their service or what they served, they would do their best to improvise their service and whatnot instead of crying foul and dragging people to court for stating their honest personal opinion about their food and services. Most are very courteous and  would accept criticism in a very mature manner. As the saying goes, one’s man meat is another man’s poison. Some may say certain product is good, while some other will not find it up to their liking.

I won’t say who is right or who is wrong here… but I can certainly say that speech is definitely not free in Malaysia. That’s all I can say.


Cleffairy: How many of you would agree with me that win or loose, everyone involved will have a great publicity and exposure? And did you know that in most court cases, settlements out of court is common?

11 comments

  1. AngeLBeaR says:

    always passed by this place…never singgah here…hihihi..coz if I want to eat banana leaf rice in KK, I will always go to Krishna’s. Anyway…I do agree that the food is quite pricey though. =.=|||

    • Cleffairy says:

      Never singgah ke? So dono how the food is like? I dun fancy fish head, but I love banana leaf rice. Here in KL, I go to Kanna there… there nice to eat.

  2. Tera says:

    How does the food taste like? – no comment
    How is the atmosphere? – no comment
    How is the…? – no comment

    I guess to be safe, next time when the food taste horrible, just say no comment. If it’s good, give it a well deserved comment.

    Anyway, I can’t believe this is happening. I mean, if they are open for business, they should be ready for feedback. If they have the $ to sue people why don’t they just use the money to hire a new chef!?!? What they hey are they thinking about. Don’t get their logic at all.

    • Cleffairy says:

      Truth be told, Tera, I don’t think one negative review is capable of making one bankrupt. If the food is really good, nobody would give a damn if there’s a dozen of bad review about the place. This is my opinion. i have given loads of bad reviews… on not only restaurants, cafe and stalls that I patronized, but on books and movies too… it is a matter of opinion… and more often than not it is my personal opinion. But if the food/ products are really good… no harm would be done to the reputation or sales!

  3. Gratitude says:

    That is why professional food reviewers all across the world are called food-critics; review as how they as see fit.

    That restauranteur is just plain silly, or perhaps he wants his minute of fame and free advertisement.
    +Ant+

  4. suituapui says:

    I contacted my cousin in KK about the place and he said, “That half dead place – nobody goes there to eat.” So I guess there may be some truth in what HB said…for even with a bad review, if it is good, people will still flock there, no matter what.

    I have read HB’s post earlier…and I do find the language used a bit harsh but that’s his style and people who have been following his blog would consider that normal and take everything with a pinch of salt. I even commented on that post (though not on the content proper) – and did not bother much of all that he said.

    Movies get bad reviews, books get bad reviews, Broadway & West End plays and musicals get bad reviews… Imagine if all the reviewers get sued. No doubt the old folks would say, “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything,” but I don’t see why a person cannot say what he feels. I will say that I do not like the food at a certain place but as you said (and I always say the same thing too), one man’s meat is another man’s poison. I had been to places that people praised to the skies but I did not like the food at all and on the other hand, I had people who went to the places that I loved but said that they were so disappointed with the food.

    Whatever it is, we may have freedom of speech but we also have the freedom to choose how we say it. I’ve mentioned to you before that in writing, it is not what we say but how we say it…

    • Cleffairy says:

      Seriously speaking, I think The Star is being biased and unfair to Huai Bin. Why just tell the story from the restaurant’s owner’s point of view? Why not both? The Star’s article is damaging to Huai Bin’s reputation too, but why nobody is saying anything about that and sympathizing with the restaurant’s CEO? It is funny that MR. CEO thinks that one could actually loose business just because of ONE bad food review. If the food is really nice, nobody would give a damn about what Huai Bin said. Where is their regular customer? hey, the mamak shop near my house is defamed and slandered all the time…bad reviews were given to them like nobody’s business too, but their owners dun exactly give a damn.

      Why? Because the truth is their food is really nice though the service is just so-so. Money is still rolling in for them… so… I really believe… even if a review is bad, it does not exactly damage one’s reputation as long as the food is up to certain standard.

      Bad review does not constitute defamation. If Huai Bin said something like… oh, they have roaches in their curry… or the briyani taste suspiciously like panadol… or they must have put some drugs inside their food…well, now, that’s what I call defamation.

      I used to go to Sixthseal.com when I just started blogging, and I dun exactly find his writing offensive… perhaps his words are a tad harsh, but I’ve seen worst…Huai Bin is just another blogger stating his opinion… in his own way.

  5. fattyoldman says:

    they r too free n nth to do tat y goan sue…rm6 mil for a bad review n google website must be joking..of remove his site from google wat d use of google sumore as ppl can’t seek certain web…if ur restaurant r so gud u even won’t entertain this kind of review..it just another publicity they nid to promote his restaurant sumore hb wrote it smts ago so those no gud thing they fast fast change…

  6. ARCâ„¢ says:

    totally agree with you sista hehe. Only that when given such comment, he’d lost his cistomers (if he ever had any, duh!) and that makes it harder for him to do the improvising thingy 🙂

  7. ARC™ says:

    totally agree with you sista hehe. Only that when given such comment, he’d lost his cistomers (if he ever had any, duh!) and that makes it harder for him to do the improvising thingy 🙂

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