1. There are 2 types of defamation – libel (written defamation) and slander (oral defamation).
2. In Malaysia, it is governed under Defamation Act 1957 (civil cases: a private person suing another private person) whereas in criminal cases of defamation, it is governed Section 499 to 502 of the Penal Code (State against a private person).
3. Defamatory statements may result in tarnishing one’s reputation in the eyes of the public but it is to be reminded that offensive statements are not defamatory.
4. Online defamation, such as statements made on chat rooms or on social media can be considered libelous if untrue statements are made.
5. Phrases which start with ‘I think’ or ‘I believe’ do not automatically protect you from a defamation claim.
6. Punishment for civil cases usually involve monetary compensation while in criminal cases, punishment may include a jail sentence for a maximum of 2 years or a fine, or both together.