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Defamation Law: A Primer

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Prof Dato’ Salleh Buang formerly served as a Federal Counsel in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Kuala Lumpur, before he left for private practice, then the corporate sector and finally the academia. He was the Deputy Dean, Kulliyyah of Laws, International Islamic University Malaysia until 1990, when he went into full-time consulting.
Over the last three decades, he had conducted numerous workshops, seminars, corporate briefings and courses covering company law, land law, housing development, construction law, joint ventures and planning law. Author of more than 25 books and monographs on a wide range of legal topics, he now writes for his weekly column in New Straits TimesUtusan Malaysia and Sinar Ahad.
Until 2013, he was a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Geoinformation and Real Estate, UTM, Johor. He is currently a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW).

Born in Muar, Johore, he is currently resident in Alor Setar, Kedah.

Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1: Nature of Defamation
  • Chapter 2: Elements of Defamation
  • Chapter 3: Defamation on the Internet
  • Chapter 4: Defamation in Social Media
  • Chapter 5: Defences
  • Chapter 6: Remedies
  • Chapter 7: Recent Developments
  • Chapter 8: Modernising Defamation Law
  • Appendix I: Defamation Act 1957 (Malaysia)
  • Appendix II: Defamation Act 2013 (UK)

Defamation Law: A Primer is a simple text covering various defamation situations occurring in the context of the Malaysian landscape. It is written specifically for a “reader” searching for a basic introductory book on the law of defamation as contained in statutes and expounded in leading court cases in Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and other common law jurisdictions. Case law from the United States has also been considered.

The book is spread out over eight chapters and examines the dual importance of the right of freedom of speech and expression on the one hand and the right to personal privacy on the other. The chapters are presented in a systematic order, explaining the principles that are involved such as nature of defamation, elements of defamation, defences and remedies, as well as providing insights to recent developments and the modernising of defamation law.
Each area of the law on defamation is explained and new areas such as defamation on the Internet and in social media with relevant case law have been deeply discussed. The analyses of defamation in the new areas provide valuable guidance on the application of the law in current scenarios. 
This book is intended to be a handy textbook for students and serves as a convenient and quick refresher for busy legal practitioners, corporate counsel, newly appointed judicial officers, lecturers and judges. It will also be a useful aid to the general public, as well as journalists, reporters and other media professionals (in radio, television, or print organisations) in Malaysia and abroad.
  • Written in simple language for an easy understanding of the legal provisions governing the law of defamation.
  • Considers defamation on the Internet and in social media and examines the delicate balance to be struck between the right freedom of speech and expression and the right to personal privacy.
  • Surveys major case law from Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Singapore, cases from other Commonwealth jurisdictions and the United States are referred to where relevant.
  • Appendices present extracts from the Malaysian Defamation Act 1957 (Act 286) and the UK Defamation Act 2013.