RM11b ‘black hole’ case, Chieng Jen teams up with father to challenge suit

Chieng Jen speaking to reporters outside the Kuching High Court today.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Jan 7: A father and son team will handle a defamation suit filed by the Sarawak Government against state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen (Chieng Jen) over the RM11 billion “black hole” remark allegedly uttered by Chieng Jen.

Chieng Jen and the founding member of DAP Sarawak Chong Siew Chiang, the father of Chieng Jen will team up to handle the case.

Chieng Jen in his press conference outside the Kuching High Court today said that he will take charge of the facts of the case.

“I will apply to the court ‘for me to act in person’. So I am the defendant and the counsel,” he told reporters.

He said this is the first time he and his father will team up as defence counsels in court prior to the proceeding today.

Witnesses for the plaintiff will be called to testify today.

High Court Judicial Commissioner (JC) Alexander Siew How Wai who will be presiding at the case has fixed five days to hear the case – from today until Jan 13.

On April 3, 2013, the State Government and State Financial Authority sued Chong in the Kuching High Court for alleged defamation over his statement that RM11 billion from the state budget mysteriously disappeared into the “black hole”.

He is alleged to have uttered this remark to the media on Jan 13, 2013.

The plaintiffs in the case – the Sarawak Government and the State Financial Authority are represented by lawyers from the State Attorney General’s Chambers.

They are Dato Sri JC Fong, Mohd Azdrul Azlan, Voon Yan Sin, Oliver Chua.

The father-son team will also be assisted by Michael Kong, Chieng Jen’s special assistant.

The case was first filed in 2013. It is alleged that Chieng Jen used the term “black hole” to hint that RM11 billion had gone missing from the state coffers.

Chieng Jen’s allegation was published in a Chinese newspaper, Sin Chew Daily, Malaysiakini and in pamphlets distributed by Chieng Jen and DAP Sarawak.

It is also alleged that his statement was published in the party’s organ, The Rocket.

On Dec 18 last year, the Kuching High Court rejected Chieng Jen’s application to allow the state government to disclose documents in relation to projects funded by the RM11 billion.

Chong Jien’s application was dismissed by Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew. -DayakDaily