Wee vs Kong: Defendant testifies he searched online for info about plaintiff’s business interests

The court complex in Kuching.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Aug 25: Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) Michael Kong told the court that he had researched about the close relationship between Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Dato Richard Wee and Satok assemblyman Ibrahim Baki through Hubline Berhad’s official website.

Wee filed legal action against Kong over a Facebook post on July 21, 2020 by the latter.

Kong, was called as the defense’s fourth witness in the defamation suit.

During the examination-in-chief conducted by defence counsel Chong Chieng Jen, Chong asked Kong if he verified the facts about the close relationship between the plaintiff and Ibrahim before he posted the Facebook post on July 21, 2022. Kong said, he had gone on the Internet and searched for the official website of Hubline Berhad.

He said the website had access to Hubline Berhad annual reports for the past few years and he had downloaded a document and looked into the directorship and shareholdings of Hubline Berhad where it was reported by Hubline Berhad through its own annual report that the plaintiff and Ibrahim are both directors and shareholders of Hubline Berhad.

He further told the Court that he had also looked at the website of Supreme Consolidated Resources Berhad where under the section for corporate information, it was stated that Ibrahim and the plaintiff are both part of the company.

Kong testified that on the said website, he could also download the financial report for Supreme Consolidated Resources Berhad and upon looking at the directors’ interest and the names of the directors, it was clear that both the plaintiff and Ibrahim are directors and shareholders of Supreme Consolidated Resources Berhad.

“When I posted the said Facebook post, I had also attached a picture of Hubline Berhad’s corporate information which can be found in the annual report for year 2019,” he said.

During the cross-examination, counsel for the plaintiff, Shankar Ram Asnani put it to Kong that the evidence that Kong had tendered does not show the republication on other social media platforms and Facebook page of others and does not show the number of shares, post impressions from the republication of the Facebook post, Kong acknowledged that in so far as the other social media platforms are concerned, the exhibit does not show any information on the number of shares and reach and it only shows the number of shares and reach within the Facebook social media platform.

He further said, in so far as the reach within the Facebook social media platform is concerned, the figures in the exhibit would reflect the total number of shares and reach within the entire Facebook social media platform.

He said according to the exhibit, there are only 37 reactions, 18 comments, 35 shares of his original Facebook post.

Kong agreed that in part, his exhibit does not reproduce copies of what was republished or reshared by other Facebook users. However the date that reflected the number of republications or reshares can be clearly seen where it stated that there are a total number of 37 shares. This would mean that the republication of his original Facebook post totalled 37.

When asked if he agreed that there were 2,000 likes on the Kempen Harapan Facebook page that reposted his Facebook post dated July 21, 2020 regarding the plaintiff, Kong disagreed because the figure does not necessarily mean “likes”. There are reactions which may include the “like” and so on.

Kong also agreed that anyone with a Facebook account may comment, republish, or share his Facebook post dated July 21, 2020 and he is responsible for the content of the said Facebook post.

Kong also confirmed that a lot of his Facebook posts are sponsored by Ecocerava Sdn Bhd and the nature of business of the said company among others are supply of green technology equipment.

Kong also admitted that he is a shareholder and director of Ecocerava Sdn Bhd.

Shankar then applied to tender the corporate information as an exhibit. However it was objected to by Chong on the relevancy.

The Court then accepted the truth of the content of the document.

The continuation of the trial was fixed for October 6 and 7. — DayakDaily