Dr Sim vs Chong: Fatimah Abdullah called as 5th witness in defamation case

Shankar Ram (right) speaking with Fatimah after the court proceedings.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, March 21: Minister of Women, Early Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development of Sarawak Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah was called as the fifth witness in the defamation suit filed by SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian against DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen over the latter’s alleged defamatory statement over the allocation of funds for food assistance amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

During the cross-examination by the defendant’s counsel Michael Kong, she agreed that the plaintiff’s name was not mentioned anywhere in the first paragraph to the third paragraph of the first Facebook post by the defendant dated April 15, 2020.

However, when reading the translation as a whole, then one will know that it was referring to the plaintiff, she said.

She also agreed that by looking at the first paragraph of the first Facebook post, the defendant merely mentioned GPS and SUPP but she maintained that by reading the translation as a whole, it was referring to the plaintiff.

When asked were there letters or a memorandum to rectify the error or to cancel the first official memorandum dated April 3, 2020, she said, although there was no direct statement, one has to look at the whole letter which clearly shows that with no money being channelled to the assemblymen, it would mean that the purchasing of the food is to be done by the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC).

She stressed that there is no other official letter or memorandum because the letter to the Sarawak Implementation Monitoring Unit (SIMU) with its attachment is clear and understood by the recipients, which is DDMC and the assemblymen.

She said, when the money is channelled to DDMC as explained in the letter, it meant that no ADUNs be it GPS or opposition will receive the fund. The purchasing of the food, the payment of the food will be done by DDMC, ADUNs would not have any control over the fund nor payment for food aid.

She stressed that the ADUN service center has no control over the funds over the purchase of food supply, and there was nothing to stop the ADUN service centres including the Opposition to participate in the distribution of food aid to the needy.

She stressed that the opposition constituencies are not deprived of the funding and that the funding is channeled to DDMC.

High Court Judge Haji Alwi Abdul Wahab has set March 22 for the continuation of the trial with the sixth witness. — DayakDaily