By Dorcas Ting
KUCHING, April 11: The trial of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas’ defamation suit against Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Betong chief Vernon Kedit was today adjourned to May 27-29.
The trial started yesterday.
The trial was initially scheduled for three days (April 10-12) but the judge adjourned it to May 27-29 after cross-examination of Uggah, the first witness.
The plaintiff plans to call eight witnesses, while the defendant will call three witnesses in the first round of trial.
Vernon is sued for questioning Uggah’s interpretation of ‘usufructuary right’ over the native customary rights (NCR) land issue and for allegedly calling Uggah a ‘traitor’ or ‘liar’ in a WhatsApp group chat.
Vernon received his Letter of Demand from Uggah’s lawyer on July 30, 2018, to retract the allegedly libellous statement and to offer a written apology to be published in newspapers in Sarawak.
The letter also demanded Vernon to promise not to make such statements against Uggah in the future, to pay all legal costs incurred, and to pay a sum of not less than RM1 million in damages as compensation for allegedly defaming Uggah in a WhatsApp group chat.
The said allegation refers to the controversial Sarawak Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018, that was passed in the State Legislative Assembly last year. Vernon had opined that the amendment would gravely affect full ownership of ancestral native customary lands and NCR.
Uggah was represented by counsel Sim Hui Chuang and Alex Lim Lip Sze, while Vernon Kedit was represented by counsels Simon Siah, Desmond Kho and See Chee How. — DayakDaily