High Court to decide on Chong’s application to disclose documents on Dec 18

Chong Chieng Jen's counsel, from right, Chong Siew Chiang and Michael Kong.

KUCHING, Dec 14: Kuching High Court has fixed Dec 18 to decide on three matters pertaining to the application made by DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen for the disclosure of document on the list of projects funded with the RM11 billion fund in the Government Contribution Towards Approved Agencies Trust Fund.

Today, the case was fixed for clarification and the hearing of Enclosure 93 of the applicant.

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

High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai, after hearing the submissions of both parties, had fixed Dec 18 to decide on which party should start their submissions first in the coming trial, the short adjournment of trial date applied by Chong and the discovery to produce certain particular documents.

Normally, the plaintiff will start their submissions first in the trial but in this case, the burden of proof of evidence is on the defendant and since parties raised the issue as to who should start first for the trial, the court directs both parties to file proposed brief facts by 12pm on Dec 17.

Therefore, the court had to decide on which party to start their submissions first in the trial of this case.

Chong, who is also Member of Parliament for Stampin, requested for a short adjournment of one to two weeks to prepare for the trial.

Earlier on, the court had fixed Jan 4 for the trial of this case.

Chong is currently attending the Parliament sitting and will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine once he reached Kuching on Dec  19 or 20.

Therefore, his counsel needed time to keep him updated and seek his further instructions pertaining to the case.

The Court then ordered Chong’s counsel to write formally to the Court stating the reasons and will rule on this application on Dec 18.

On April 3, 2013, the State Government and State Financial Authority sued Chong in the Kuching High Court for defamation over his defamatory statement of RM11 billion of the State budget mysteriously disappeared 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