Richard Wee: Michael Kong’s Facebook post ‘tarnished my reputation’

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Oct 6: Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Dato Richard Wee said DAP member Michael Kong’s Facebook post on July 21, 2020 had “tarnished the reputation” that he has built over the years.

He added that the post had raised concerns among his business associates from Europe, America, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and West Malaysia.

The special assistant to Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jeng, Kong had on July 21, 2020 posted on his Facebook social media page a statement allegedly containing a defamatory element against Dato Richard Wee.

Wee, through his Counsel Shankar Ram, has taken libel action against Kong for general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages for libel and malicious falsehood and an injunction to restrain the defendant from publishing, causing to be published, circulating and distributing the said post.

Wee was the fifth witness called by the plaintiff for the defamation suit.

During the cross-examination, the defendant’s counsel suggested that Wee’s interpretation was an exaggerated interpretation of the Facebook post by the defendant, and asked if Wee still maintains his stand regarding the said Facebook post, and how did he feel about it?

Wee then replied that in the Facebook post, the defendant had attacked him maliciously in his personal reputation, his standing as a community leader and his standing in the business community.

He said such allegations have tarnished his reputation that he has built over the years.

He further said that the allegations have caused more hurt and pain towards his family members and caused his mother to have tearful nights.

In regard to his business circle, he said he had received many phone calls and enquiries ever since the publication of the said Facebook post by the defendant.

He said all this has caused much anxiety as he had to deal with various financial institutions, shareholders and investors.

“Not to say it may even attract investigations from authorities like Bursa Malaysia, MACC and Bank Negara and all those have created many sleepless nights and stress on my part. ”

Earlier on, during the cross-examination by Chong Chieng Jen, Chong asked the question, “Before you made the political stand as the president of Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations to support GPS as expressed in The Borneo Post, did you have a formal meeting with the 121 association members and have a resolution passed to that effect?”

Wee said it was never a political stand and stressed that the interview with The Borneo Post was to convey the feedback and views of his members. He also stressed that he never urged the voters to support GPS in the said interview.

When being asked by Chong whether Wee as the president of the Federation also spoke on behalf of the Foochow Association Kuching on the matters raised in the interview with The Borneo Post, Wee said under the structure of the Federation of Chinese Associations, Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division, Sarawak, each and every member association sent their representative to the federation and from there they will be elected to their respective post.

He said, the Federation is the umbrella body for all the associations within the division and are properly represented. Each and every individual association would still have the right and freedom to express their views.

All these represent the cross section of the community within Kuching, Samarahan and Serian.

Wee was represented by Counsels Shakar Ram, Yu Ying Ying and Russell Lim whereas Kong was represented by Counsels Chong Chieng Jen and Sim Kiat Leng.