Wee vs Kong: Defense objects to plaintiff’s application to adduce 12th Sarawak Election statistics as evidence

The court complex in Kuching.

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By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, July 5: Counsels for the plaintiff and defendant clashed over the former’s application to adduce the statistics and results of the 12th Sarawak Election as evidence in today’s hearing of the defamation suit by Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Dato Richard Wee against Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader Michael Kong.

Kong had allegedly made a defamatory Facebook post on July 21, 2020 about Wee.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Shankar Ram Asnani applied to the Kuching High Court to adduce the said statistics as evidence but it was rejected by counsel for the defendant Chong Chieng Jen on three grounds:

1. The figures are unclear;
2. The source of the document is not known;
3. Deemed unnecessary as the plaintiff’s counsel has indicated that his purpose of tendering this document is just to prove that Gabungan Party Sarawak (GPS) won 76 out of 82 constituencies which are not in dispute.

However, Shankar Ram argued that if proper statistics of the 12th Sarawak Election are not produced to the court, then it may lead to distortion of the statistics where the numbers are important.

High Court Judge Alwi Abdul Wahab then fixed the date of July 12 for both parties to submit their submissions on this matter and July 19 for reply of submission, and the date of September 11 to rule on this matter.

Shankar Ram then continue to his cross-examination of the defense’s witness Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong. He asked Yong as a YB for Pending, if she would that the statistics for the full 82 State constituencies in the 12th Sarawak Election would be relevant to show how the Chinese voters may have voted. Chong then stood up to object on the grounds that whether the statistics are relevant or otherwise is not a matter for the witness to answer.

Shankar Ram on the other hand said this was an important question that the defense had raised in witness statements and the witness should be able to answer and that the witness had touched on the statistics, where Yong mentioned, “In fact, the result of the 2021 State election in N.10 Pending has proven the plaintiff wrong.”

The Court then allowed the question and Yong answered that she disagreed because the plaintiff’s action or statement “is more urban and Chinese voters” and Pending constituency is an urban constituency with more than 85 per cent Chinese voters.

Yong agreed that the votes that she garnered in the 12th Sarawak Election had fallen from 12,454 recorded in the 2016 State Election to 5,188 in 2021 for the 12th Sarawak Election, a decline of more than 50 per cent. — DayakDaily