Dr Sim vs Chong: Plaintiff says allegedly defamatory Facebook posts were aimed at him

The court complex in Kuching.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Jan 29: The defamation trial between Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian and Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen continued in the Kuching High Court today, with the 13th witness, Dr Sim, undergoing cross-examination by the defendant’s counsels.

During the cross-examination by Counsel Michael Kong, Dr Sim agreed that his name was never mentioned in the Sarawak Report article dated April 5, 2020, titled ‘MONSTROUS! – How Sarawak’s GPS Have Played Politics with Hunger.’ However, he argued that the Sarawak Report article and the allegedly Facebook posts by the defendant dated April 15, 2020, and April 18, 2020, should be viewed as a series of interrelated topics in which the defendant aimed to target him.

When questioned by Kong about the meaning of “series of interrelated topics,” Dr Sim explained that it pertained to the distribution of food aid during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Asked whether, when read as a whole, the Sarawak Report article on April 5, 2020, was an attack on policies related to food aid, particularly in the Sibu area, Dr Sim disagreed. He emphasised that the article focused on policies regarding food aid in the Sibu area. Even though his name was not mentioned in the first paragraph, he pointed out that it mentioned 3,000 families, a number similar to that in the defendant’s press statement on April 5, 2020, as reported by Sarawak Report.

Dr Sim admitted that he did not attempt to contact Sarawak Report to verify whether the quote in the third paragraph of the article was attributed to the defendant. He acknowledged making deductions based on his reading, without verification from Sarawak Report or the defendant.

Disputing the idea that the April 5, 2020, Sarawak Report article was not a personal attack against him, Sim argued that it marked the beginning of subsequent posts on the defendant’s Facebook page on April 15, 2020, and April 18, 2020, as well as his press statement on April 29, 2020, and the defendant’s press statement on the same date.

However, Dr Sim agreed that the article was intended and targeted at Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS). — DayakDaily