KUCHING: Forgive and forget – Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri makes a new friend after receiving a public apology from former journalist Joseph Tawie for defaming her.

Nancy had sued Tawie over his Facebook posts on May 10 and 13 last year which insinuated that Nancy has abused her power by giving a directive to Sili Bunsi – Tuai Rumah of Sungai Buluh in Sadong Jaya, to cancel a Gawai ceremony meant to welcome the Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and not to cooperate with the newly elected Pakatan Harapan federal government.

Tawie’s statement of apology to Nancy was read out during case hearing at the Kuching High Court yesterday.

The apology has turned the foes into friends as Nancy and Tawie were seen shaking hands and sharing a moment of conversation after the court hearing.

“Today, I have found a new friend out of this case. From now on, we (Nancy and Tawie) will talk to each other if there is anything to discuss,” she said.

She added that it was good of Tawie to apologise in order for her to maintain her dignity.

“The defamation caused a lot of distress to me because I knew I did not do anything that has been alleged. I was never part of it so I took him to court for defaming me,” she said.

Nancy said she will forgive Tawie over the issue as she believed everyone regardless of race or religion must be given opportunities to redeem themselves and practise harmony and unity in the state.

However, she stressed that there are consequences for defamation.

“While we live in a democratic society that embraces the freedom of expression, we must also understand that such freedom is not absolute, and must not be abused at the expense of others,” she continued.

An apologetic Tawie said, “After I studied everything on the facts and as advised by my lawyers, I have to apologise to her,” adding that it did not take long for him to decide on apologising to Nancy.

Judge Datuk Supang Lian who presided over the case allowed settlement by the parties whereby Tawie shall publish his statement of apology on his Facebook page as well as in the Borneo Post and New Sarawak Tribune newspapers.

Justice Supang also ordered Tawie to remove the two defamatory publications on May 10 and 13 last year from his Facebook page as well as all comments associated with both of the publications.

Tawie was also ordered to pay costs of RM25,000 to the plaintiff (Nancy).