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By Dorcas Ting
KUCHING, Oct 6: Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Dato Richard Wee maintained that a Facebook post by Michael Kong on July 21, 2020 is clearly defamatory and it is attacking his professional and personal reputation, under cross-examination.
Kong, who is a special assistant to Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, had on July 21, 2020 uploaded a Facebook post allegedly defaming Wee.
Wee through his Counsel Shankar Ram Asnani has filed a legal suit 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 who was the fifth witness called by the plaintiff for the defamation suit continued to be cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel, Chong, in court proceedings yesterday.
In the hearing before High Court Judge Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab, Chong asked whether Wee had filed for legal action because he was alleged to have a close business relationship with the top leaders of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), meaning that he has an “improper”, “illegal” and “corrupt” relationship with them as stated in the statement of claim.
Wee replied, the defendant’s Facebook post needed to be read in its totality and asserted the said post is clearly defamatory and attacking his (Wee’s) professional and personal reputation.
“It may not contain the words highlighted by the counsel, but all the accusations in the Facebook post suggest that I am a corrupt person, I am involved in illegal dealings, I am a man of no principle, I depend on relationships to further and advance my business ventures, and I am willing to compromise my principle for personal gain and interest,” Wee said.
Wee disagreed with Chong who put it to the former that his interpretation of the defendant’s Facebook post emerged as the product of some strained or forced or utterly unreasonable interpretation. Wee also disagreed with Chong saying that Wee’s interpretation is an overelaborate analysis of the defendant’s Facebook post.
Referring to the first paragraph of the defendant’s Facebook post: “Before Dato Richard Wee purports to speak on behalf of the Chinese community in support of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), he should declare his personal business interest with the current GPS government, particularly PBB”, Chong asked whether Wee agreed that it is a comment or a request of the defendant.
Wee said he did not agree.
“The first paragraph itself has demonstrated the defendant’s intent by asking me to declare my personal and business interest with GPS particularly PBB when I was acting as a president elected by the Chinese community.
“I was merely reflecting my members’ views and feedback representing them. That has nothing to do with my personal and business interest at all. And I wish to categorically mention that I have no personal and business interest with either GPS or PBB,” he said.
Chong continued: “Do you agree that the defendant in that paragraph was merely commenting that you should declare your personal and business interest with the current GPS government before you purport to speak on behalf of the Chinese community in support of GPS?”
Wee also disagreed: “Why should I declare my personal and business interest when I was only reflecting the Chinese community’s feedback and views which I represent?”
Chong then referred to the third paragraph of the defendant’s Facebook post which stated “While Dato Richard Wee can count on the elites and the Sarawak State government as potential customers, unfortunately most of the Chinese community can only dream of this”. Chong asked Wee whether the statement is a fair comment to say that potential customers who could afford to pay for the services of Layang-Layang Aerospace Sdn Bhd which offers plane or helicopter chartering services are the rich and elite, or the State government.
Wee again disagreed and said as he had stated earlier regarding the business and operations of Layang-Layang Aerospace, it has been clearly described that apart from general chartering air services, the company is also involved in flying doctor services and emergency medical services, aerial mapping and surveys as well as a pilot academy in Ipoh.
“To suggest that Layang-Kayang Aerospace Sdn Bhd is only catering our services to the rich and the elite and State government is totally untrue.
“In fact the company at this moment do not have any contracts from the rich, the elite and the State government apart from the aerial mapping and survey services.” — DayakDaily