KUCHING, Jan 11: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chief Chong Chieng Jen will be representing himself at the “Blackhole” case.
“After a long discussion with my lawyers from M/s. Chong Brothers Advocates, the legal firm acting for me before this, I decided to act in person and take upon the task of cross-examining the government’s witnesses and set out to finish what I have started in 2006.
“With this decision, I will be alone, up against the team of four lawyers representing the State Government, though with the back-ground assistance of the lawyers from M/s. Chong Brothers, my father, Michael Kong and Sim Kiat Leng,” said Chong in a statement today.
On Jan 8, 2021, the High Court in the hearing of the “Black Hole” case, ordered that Chong to elect one or the other, either to act in person for the conduct of the case, or to act through a legal firm of lawyers.
“If I elect to act in person, no other lawyers can address the Court nor cross-examine the witnesses in Court. If I elect to act through a legal firm, then I, as the litigant, cannot address the Court or cross-examine the Plaintiff’s witnesses. The effect of this Court Order is that, I will not be allowed to have the father-and-son team appearing and addressing the Court in my case,” said Chong who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman.
The “Black Hole” case involves the management of RM11 billion of the Sarawak State Government fund over the years 2006 to 2013. It also involves the conduct of the Sarawak DUN proceedings and the issue of transparency and public accountability of the State Government.
The matter started in DUN Sarawak in 2006 when the Sarawak State Government created this “Government Contribution Towards Approve Agencies Trust Fund” into which billions of State fund were allocated.
“I in the course of my duty as an elected State Assemblyman questioned the allocation and use of public money in the Trust Fund and criticized the State Government for the non-transparency in its management of the account.
“In 2013, the State Government suing me for defamation in respect of some of the criticisms made by me in respect of the management of the said Trust Fund. Thereafter for a long 7 years, I was not allowed to question on the management of the Trust Fund account in DUN (Dewan Undangan Negeri) Sarawak.
“As such, I strongly feel duty bound that this long unfinished business should be dealt with and finished by me, now that the matter has been brought up for trial in Court,” said Chong who is also Stampin MP. — DayakDaily