High Court dismisses Chong’s application to disclose documents

JC Fong (front) and Mohd Azdrul Azlan (back)

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Dec 18: The High Court here dismissed the application filed by DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen to disclose further documents on the list of projects funded with the RM11 billion fund in the Government Contribution Towards Approved Agencies Trust Fund from the Sarawak government and the State Financial Authority.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai said today the court is in agreement with the submissions of the plaintiffs and, therefore, dismissed the application filed by Chong with the cost of RM2,000.

The plaintiffs of this case are the Sarawak government and the State Financial Authority represented by the State Attorney General’s Chambers, Datuk Seri JC Fong, Mohd Azdrul Azlan, Voon Yan Sin and Oliver Chua while the defendant, Chong is represented by counsel Chong Siew Chiang and Michael Kong.

Today, the Court also dismissed the adjournment of trial to one to two weeks as requested by Chong. Siew fixed Jan 7 for trial.

The Court had also ruled to let the plaintiffs start their submissions first during the trial.

Both parties had done their oral submissions on Dec 24, with the plaintiffs arguing that the documents required are not relevant and necessary to the case and the defendant did not state specifically.

The plaintiffs also argued that the documents requested were not specifically pleaded in the defendant’s pleading.

The documents requested are documents owned by separate companies who would have their own processes and rules pertaining documents, added the plaintiffs.

On the other hand, Chong’s counsel Michael Kong and Chong Siew Chiang submitted that the documents requested are related to the defamation suit between the State government and Chong.

Chong Siew Chiang (centre) and Michael Kong (right)

Chong Siew Chiang said to produce certain particular documents is to prove what Chong had said regarding the RM11 billion was true.

He said these documents are highly relevant to what Chong had said and to the defamation suit by the government.

“The government has the power to produce the documents but refuses to produce the documents and is suppressing the evidence, not for justice,” he added.

On April 3, 2013, the State government and State Financial Authority sued Chong in Kuching High Court for defamation over his defamatory statement of RM11 billion of the State budget mysteriously disappear into the blackhole in the media on January 3, 2013.

The State government pleaded that the words in their ordinary meaning meant that the State government and its Financial Authority, through the budgetary process, had caused billions of Ringgit to be siphoned off for the benefit of cronies of members of the government and their families.

The High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court found the objectionable words capable of a defamatory meaning. The Appellate Courts also ruled that under Section 3 of the Government Proceedings Act, 1956, the government of Sarawak and its financial authority can sue Chong for defamation.

Therefore, Chong applied for the Court to decide whether the Sarawak government must disclose these documents about the list of projects purported to be financed with this RM11 billion fund. — DayakDaily