By Dorcas Ting
KUCHING, March 23: In the defamation suit filed by SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian against DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen over an alleged defamatory statement about the allocation of funds for food assistance amidst the Covid-19 crisis, former assemblyman for N9 Padungan Wong King Wei continue to testify in court today as the sixth witness called in the trial.
During the cross-examination, he confirmed that he, together with members from DAP had submitted names of intended recipients for food aid assistance to the Welfare Department.
When asked by the defendant’s Counsel that DAP Bandar Kuching and Stampin had on April 5, 2020 decided and announced that they will be carrying out its own food aid initiative for the public, he told the Court that he could not remember the exact date when DAP started own food aid initiative but from the passage shown to him, it was stated that it started on April 5, 2020.
He said from what he could recall, the defendant had instructed them to start the food aid initiative by DAP as the party has to be seen to be distributing food earlier than the State government despite the State government announcing the food aid budget allocation of RM16.4 million on March 29, 2020.
He further told the Court that he remembered that the defendant had stated that that is a political competition between DAP and the state government particularly against SUPP.
“Regardless of the volume of the distribution of the food aid, according to the defendant that is not important. What is important is DAP has to start first,” he said.
Michael Kong, who represented the defendant, then told the Court that it was only proper that the answer be limited to the questions asked, and for witnesses to refrain from taking the opportunity to make personal attacks on any parties, be it the defendant or the plaintiff.
Kong said this is a personal defamation action between the plaintiff and the defendant for words which were published on Facebook and did not see the need to bring up any intention or motive of any party in the implementation of the food aid during the MCO period.
Shankar who represented the plaintiff objected and said the witness did not go off tangent because the witness was referring to the document where accusations were made against the state government by the defendant where the defendant said “I am totally disappointed with the GPS State government in this matter. If the state government does not want to help, then don’t stop others from helping”.
He further told the Court that the answer given by Wong is very relevant to show the intention of the defendant in trying to paint a picture that the Sarawak government is guilty of inaction.
The trial will continue on May 22 to 25, 2023.
Sim was represented by Counsels Shankar Ram, Russell l Lim and Yiu Ying Ying whereas Chong was represented by Counsels Chong Siew Chiang, Michael Kong and Brenda Chong. — DayakDaily