Dr Sim vs Chong: Ex-Padungan rep claims ‘our task was to look better than our rival’ in food aid defamation case

Wong King Wei (right), seen talking to the plaintiff counsel Shankar Ram.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, May 22: In the defamation suit filed by Sarawak United Peoples’ Party’s (SUPP) Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian against Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) Chong Chieng Jen over an allegedly defamatory statement regarding the allocation of funds for food assistance amid the Covid-19 crisis, former assemblyman for Padungan, Wong King Wei, continued to testify at the Court today.

During the cross-examination conducted by the defendant’s counsel, Michael Kong, by referring to a video posted on April 11, 2020, Wong agreed that there was a scene in the said video that seemed like a helper was preparing food aid for distribution to the public, and he agreed that the said food aid was distributed to people within the Bandar Kuching and Stampin parliamentary constituency.


However, he was not sure if DAP Sarawak had also distributed food aid to people in Serian, Bau, and Lundu.

He disagreed that the food aid distribution by DAP Sarawak was necessary because, at that material time, many of these people who needed help had not received assistance from the government.

He agreed that he appeared in the said video and was leading a team of DAP volunteers to bring food aid for distribution within the area of KMC Flat, Kuching.

He told the Court that the food aid which he was photographed distributing was prepared by the DAP Sarawak service centre in Kuching.

By referring to a Facebook post on May 2, 2020, his name was mentioned as part of the team that distributed food aid to 500 families at Arang Road Flat.

However, he said he could not remember exactly when that was, and he has no knowledge of the number of families for whom the food items were distributed.

He disagreed that the food aid given to the residents of Arang Road Flat was because many of them needed food aid assistance.

He said that for the distribution to Arang Road Flat, they were instructed by the defendant to go down to the place, which is under the defendant’s constituency, to distribute the food aid door to door without a name list of those who were really in need or had requested food aid.

He said, basically, they were tasked with distributing (food aid) to everybody by knocking on every door of Arang Road Flat.

He added the people who answered were happy to receive food aid even though they may not be in need or have requested it.

“Our task was simply to make people feel that we are present on the ground faster and more frequently than our political rival.”

Therefore, he disagreed with the question that suggested DAP Sarawak saw the need for food aid assistance and stepped in to help members of the public.

He said he was not sure if all the food aid distributed by DAP Sarawak was sourced from donors and monetary contributions from DAP leaders and members, as he was not informed or made aware of the source of the monetary contribution by the defendant.

However, he confirmed that DAP Sarawak did not receive any money from the Sarawak government for the purchase of food aid.

The defendant’s counsel, Michael Kong, also introduced a new document prepared by the Department of Statistics Malaysia under the Prime Minister’s Department for Padungan which stated that there are 5,417 living quarters and 4,463 households in the constituency.

Kong told the Court that he was tendering the document because Wong, in his previous evidence, had testified that Padungan only had 100 needy families for his service team to deliver food aid to.

The document showed information regarding the demography of N9 Padungan as of 2020.

The Court accepted the document as an exhibit.

The trial for the case will continue. — DayakDaily

Counsels for the defendant, from left: Michael Kong, Chong Siew Chiang, and Brenda Chong.