A puzzling day for a court reporter

Chong Chieng Jen

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, March 12:  It was a puzzling day for the reporters attending the “Black Hole” case at Kuching High Court today.

During the trial of the Black Hole case today, the legal officer from the Sarawak Attorney General’s office, Oliver Chua, kept on querying one of the witnesses whether the word “砂州” if being translated literally, from Chinese to English, can also mean “country of sand”.

In Chinese, “砂州” (pronounced as “sha zhou”) sounds the same as “沙州” which means “country of sand”.

Chua, who represented the Sarawak Attorney General in the Black Hole defamation suit filed against Chong Chieng Jen was cross-examining Lee, who is a witness testifying for Chong.

Chong has been taken to court for allegedly defamed the Sarawak government by making RM11 billion Black Hole remark in Sin Chew Daily on Jan 13, 2013.

Chua asked Lee if the translation that Lee had certified, where word “sha zhou zheng fu cai zheng kai zhi mei nian” (砂州政府财政开支每年) that appeared in Sin Chew Daily News was translated as “Sarawak Government’s annual financial expenditure”.

Chua went on to confirm with Lee if the English translation reflected what it was written in Chinese. Lee answered: “If I read through the question and translate literally it should sound like that”.

Then Chua continued to ask whether the word “sha zhou” which means Sarawak may also be literally translated “country of sand”.  To the question, Lee said: “It is common knowledge for all Sarawakians that “sha zhou” is Sarawak”.

Lee is the first witness called by the defendant of Chong Chieng Jen.

During the trial, Chong Chieng Jen who chooses to act for himself said he will be the next witness of this case. As he will be the next witness, he will appoint counsels from Messrs Chong Brothers Advocate to act for him.

The plaintiff had called seven witnesses to testify for this case since March 1.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai has fixed the trial dates for this case from Mar 1 to 12. As the trial is taking longer than expected, Siew extended the trial dates to another four days, which will be from March 16 to 19.

The plaintiff is represented by State Legal Council Dato Sri JC Fong as well as state legal officers Mohd Adzul Adzlan, Voon Yan Sin and Oliver Chua.

When the session of cross-examination ended today, the reporter still failed to figure out how “砂州” (Sarawak) can mean”沙州” (country of sand) though they both pronounce the same and how the two terms may link to the Black Hole case.

It was but a puzzling day today!— DayakDaily