By Dorcas Ting
KUCHING, April 18: Former deputy director at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and also the former head of the MCMC compliance unit Ahmad Bakhtiar Hamdan said according to commission statistics, a typical Facebook post could reach 24 million Facebook users nationwide.
Ahmad Bakhtiar, the eighth witness called by the plaintiff in the defamation suit filed by Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Dato Richard Wee against Democratic Action Party’s Michael Kong over an allegedly defamatory Facebook post dated July 21, 2020.
The case is being heard by High Court Judge Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab.
Ahmad Bakhtiar today during cross-examination said MCMC statistics could actually reveal that there is a high likelihood that the defendant’s page is reachable by 24 million Facebook users nationwide and this does not include figures for multi-platform sharing.
He confirmed that MCMC statistics did not have specific data and traffic statistics for the defendant’s Facebook page as the traffic data for Facebook pages is kept by Facebook Analytics (data bank) and is obtainable upon request.
He also confirmed that MCMC does not have specific data and information of the number of Facebook users who read the defendant’s Facebook post which was dated July 21, 2020.
He explained that the statistic of a Facebook post being reachable by 24 million Facebook users nationwide refers to general statistics used by MCMC and the statistic had been published on MCMC’s official website.
He confirmed that while MCMC is unable to know how many Facebook users have actually read a particular Facebook post on a particular Facebook page, the number is a generally accepted figure, which means the acceptable margin of reach that a Facebook post may have.
He said he was not sure if different politicians or personalities will have different acceptable margin of reach for their Facebook post but agreed that the defendant’s Facebook post will have similar acceptable margin of reach as national politicians like former Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib Razak and Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Therefore, Ahmad Bakhtiar said there is a high likelihood that the said defendant’s Facebook post will be read by a similar number of Facebook users as those reading Najib or Anwar’s respective Facebook pages.
He said the defendant’s post seemed to have reached millions of users nationwide. He further explained that “reach” can mean that the same post can be shared and read through multiple platforms which may be well beyond 24 million users.
However, he disagreed when asked if it was correct to say that although there were 24 million Facebook users nationwide and the defendant’s post was set to “public”, it does not necessarily mean that 24 million Facebook users have read the said post.
He also confirmed that he is a follower of the defendant’s Facebook page as well as of most of the Facebook pages of local politicians. He said it is not part of his job description but having knowledge of local politics helped him in his duty as an MCMC compliance officer.
The defendant Kong had on July 21, 2020 posted on his Facebook page a statement allegedly containing a defamatory element against Wee the plaintiff.
Wee through his counsel Shankar Ram Asnani filed a legal case 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 was represented by Shankar, Yu Ying Ying and Russel Lim whereas Kong was represented by Chong Chieng Jen and Sim Kiat Leng. — DayakDaily