Former Malaysiakini writer testifies as 5th witness in “blackhole” suit

Chong walking out of the High Court.

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KUCHING, March 1: A former Malaysiakini writer was today called to be the fifth witness in the trial of the defamation suit filed by the Sarawak Government and State Financial Authority against DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen pertaining to the RM11 billion “black hole” remark allegedly uttered by Chong.

Joseph Tawie, 74, was called to testify in the Kuching High Court for the article that he had previously written with regards to the press conference which was called by Chong as Sarawak DAP chairman on Jan 2, 2013.

Joseph confirmed that it was Chong who had given him the leaflet and the press statement which was published in Malaysiakini on Feb 18, 2013 and the article was written by him under his pen name, Dukau Papau.

He said the leaflet was handed to him during the press conference and Chong had explained to the reporters at the press conference regarding the content of the leaflet.

During the cross-examination by Chong, Chong asked him why he had used the pen name for the said article.

Joseph replied that during that time, he was also writing for Free Malaysia Today (FMT) using his real name. He wrote for Malaysiakini using the said pen name because he did not want FMT to know that he also wrote for Malaysiakini.

When further questioned by Chong on why there was no photo of the press conference in the article published in Malaysiakini, Joseph replied that he did not give photographs to Malaysiakini in normal circumstances.

“I put it to you that you were not in the press conference?” Chong probed further.

Joseph however reiterated that he was present at the said press conference.

“You claimed to have attended the press conference on Jan 2, 2013 but why was the article only published on Feb 18 which is one month after the press conference?” asked Chong.

Joseph replied that he left it to the editor of Malaysiakini to make that decision.

“Can you tell us when did you submit the article to the editor?” Chong asked.

Joseph said he was not certain but if he was not mistaken, it was the day after the press conference.

JC Fong (in front) accompanied by Mohd Adzul.

Chong asked Joseph to look at the said article published in Malaysiakini with the heading “Taib under fire over missing RM11bil” and asked Joseph if the nuances of the article are more on the attack on Taib, the then Chief Minister.

Joseph said, “Yes”.

When asked whether the article written was exactly reflecting the key message in the English part of the leaflet, Joseph said his article was based on the leaflet with the explanation given by Chong.

Chong continued to ask Joseph if the latter used the words “accuse Taib of trying to deceive the public”, Joseph said he wrote based on Chong’s explanation.

The plaintiff is represented by state legal counsel Datuk Seri JC Fong, state legal officers Mohd Adzul Adzlan, Voon Yan Sin and Oliver Chua while Chong acts for himself. — DayakDaily