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KUCHING, August 1: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said he resorted to taking legal action against Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Betong chief Vernon Kedit because he was called “a liar” and “a traitor” by the latter.
Uggah clarified that the lawsuit was not prompted by Vernon’s views on the native customary rights (NCR) land or other issues.
“He (Vernon) is misrepresenting and distorting the whole situation. I am taking legal action against him because he called me ‘liar’ and ‘traitor’. It is a personal attack that is libellous and slanderous,” he asserted.
He said the Sarawak government was very liberal and willing to allow others to express their views on any issues.
“On the NCR land issue, there are people expressing diverse views, from Miri to Kuching. We are fine with it because everyone is entitled to have their own views, where some even went for demonstrations.
“No action has been taken against any one of them, because they had done it professionally. The points made were on the issue itself and not libellous or personal attacks,” Uggah told DayakDaily today.
He said he had to take legal action against Vernon; otherwise, it would appear he agreed to the names he had been called.
“If I don’t defend myself, then it can be used against me; that I admitted to it. That is why I need to do this. I need to protect myself.
“He has no right to call me ‘a liar’. When he goes into slandering, he has crossed the line,” said Uggah.
Uggah tabled the Sarawak Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the State Legislative Assembly last month, and it was later passed.
There were diverse views on the amendments, and those who disagreed with the changes have put forth their arguments through the media and staged peaceful protests.
Vernon, however, expressed his views through social media, and that was where he allegedly defamed Uggah.
In response, Uggah sent a Letter of Demand for “an unequivocal withdrawal of the said words and written apology” and RM1 million in damages as compensation, among others.
Earlier today, Vernon said at a press conference that he was prepared to face Uggah in court. — DayakDaily