By Dorcas Ting
KUCHING, June 29: The director of the Sarawak Premier’s Administrative Unit Office confirmed that the Covid-19 food aid fund implemented by the Sarawak government in 2020 was channeled to the State Implementation and Monitoring Unit (SIMU) and not to any of the State ADUN’s offices.
Nicholas Sia, 62, was the third witness for the defamation suit filed by SUPP Dr Sim Kui Hian against DAP Chong Chieng Jen over alleged defamatory statement over the allocation of funds for food assistance amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Sia was a subpoena witness where he had been asked to produce documents in relation to the Covid-19 food aid; in particular how and where the funds of the Sarawak government were channeled to and to which department.
During the examination in chief conducted by the plaintiff’s counsel, Shankar Ram, he told the court that the Administrative Unit Office had channeled the said funds to SIMU.
He further explained that during the first stage, his office channeled the fund of RM16.4 million to SIMU by departmental warrant and thereafter in the second stage the payment of the amount RM16.4 million to the Divisional Disaster Management Committee (DDMC).
Sia confirmed that no payment from the treasury or from the Premier’s Office or from SIMU to DDMC was given to any of the ADUN members, whether to Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) or the Opposition.
He stated that throughout the handling of the Sarawak government’s Covid-19 food aid for the people of Sarawak of all the 12 divisions of the 82 constituencies in Sarawak, the plaintiff had no control over all the funds.
Dr 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, Brenda Chong and Sim Kiat Leng. — DayakDaily