Dear Seong Jin Shiu,
Defamation arises when there is a publication which has a tendency to lower the person’s reputation or to cause him to be shunned or avoided by reasonable persons in society, and thereby adversely affecting his reputation; Tun Datuk Patinggi Hj Abdul Rahman Ya’kub v Bre Sdn Bhd  1 MLJ 393; Dato Musa Hitam v SH Alattas  1 CLJ 314.
What may lead to a tendency to lower a person’s reputation depends on the facts and allegations in each case, and their impact on the reasonable man. Mere feeling of hurt is insufficient for the award of damages for defamation.
In a defamation action (in your case libel is the precise description as it is in writing), it is essential that, you must prove the following 3 essential elements:-
(a) the words complained of were defamatory of and concerned you;
(b) the words referred to you; and
(c) the words had been published to a third person.
There is no universal test to be applied when it comes to defining a defamatory word. If you look at legal text on what are defamatory words, it is often described as follows:-
“…..a word is deemed to be defamatory if the right thinking man’s estimation of the plaintiff is lowered in general, or if the plaintiff is exposed to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or would cause him to be shunned or avoided, if the plaintiff is contemptible or ridiculed or degraded in the estimation of men whose standard of opinion which is recognised by the courts, or if interaction or association with him is hindered.”
The legal jargons may sound complicated to layman like you.
Let look at the following simple illustration: if Mr A tells Mr B that Mr C is a conman therefore beware of him. Publication arises when this statement is made to Mr B, and as this statement may cause a reasonable person to avoid Mr C, it is therefore adversely affects Mr C’s reputation.
So put yourself in the situation of Mr C, substitute “conman” above with what the negative things that the blogger wrote about you and see whether it will affect your reputation and as a result other reasonable man will avoid you, if the answer is yes, then it is most likely that the words is defamatory. But beware that not all negative things are defamatory; it must be something that affect your reputation and also depend on the context it is expressed. The issue of whether a word or words can carry a defamatory meaning is a question of fact to be answered by courts.
On the facts described by you, it seems that the negative words indeed referred to you and there is a publication. So if you could establish the words of defamatory, then you are able to bring a libel action against the blogger.
But if the blogger is able to adduce evidence to show that what he wrote is true or justification, then he would have a complete defence.
If you are aggrieved by the negative words, you are therefore advised to see a lawyer to ascertain whether you are able to bring a libel action against the blogger, there may be other cause of action such as the tort of malicious falsehood, it is really not appropriate to discuss the details in this public forum.
Suffice to says, many of us made some defamatory remarks against others almost everyday. For example, you tell your friends that your boss is a bankrupt. That’s slander of the boss. Or if you write in the blog that Mr A accepted “tea money”, that is libel of Mr A. But you don’t sue the person who defamed you on every occasion, it really depend on the context the remark is made.
In certain occasion, suing others for libel may backfire. A case in point is the 2 Britons who distributed leaflet against a large fast-food chain; it actually generated more negative publicity for the fast-food chain when the suit was heard in court, causing the fast-food chain more money to do damage control.
Advocate & Solicitor