Wee vs Kong: Judge to decide at end of trial whether additional evidence related to Pending voters can be tendered

Wee (third right) and his wife Datin Dona Drury-Wee (third left) talk with Shankar Ram (right) and other members of Wee's legal team.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Aug 24: In the defamation suit by Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Dato Richard Wee over a Facebook post by Michael Kong from Democratic Action Party (DAP) posted on July 21, 2020, the High Court is with the defendant that the plaintiff is not allowed to call further witnesses.

High Court Judge Alwi Abdul Wahab after having read the submissions by both parties on whether to let the plaintiff tender and give evidence relating to the number of the voters in N10 Pending, said that it is for the Court to decide at the end of the trial.

Earlier on during the trial, the counsel for the plaintiff, Shankar Ram Asnani had applied to the Court to adduce new evidence, which is statistics concerning the results of the 12th Sarawak election, but it was objected to by the counsel for the defendant, Chong Chieng Jen.

The trial then proceeded with the cross-examination by Shankar on the defendant’s second witness, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong Wui Wui.

During the cross-examination, Yong agreed that she has no evidence to show that the plaintiff Wee is a member of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) or Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP).

She also agreed that she knew how to get in touch with the plaintiff if necessary and the plaintiff had given a donation to buy DAP dinner tickets.

Yong also did not check with the plaintiff to verify what was he had actually said and under what circumstances he made the comments, as reported in a Borneo Post article on July 20, 2020.

In regards to the defendant’s Facebook post which was also posted on the “Kempen Harapan” Facebook page and Yong and a comment to user “Richardo Zhong” regarding the plaintiff where Yong stated that “He is likely to be one of the candidates for GPS in this coming PRN12”, referring to the plaintiff as a potential candidate, Yong said it was not a reply to “Ricardo Zhong” but it was her comment. She also agreed that she was actually endorsing the said Facebook post by the defendant.

The counsels for the defendant, Chong Chieng Jen (left) and Sim Kiat Leng (right).

Yong also agreed that the plaintiff was not the author of the article posted on Borneo Post Online on July 20, 2020 and the plaintiff has no editorial authority over the said article being published.

When questioned whether she agreed that the said article was clearly authored by a third party, which is the Borneo Post and not the plaintiff, Yong confirmed she did not take any steps to verify if the plaintiff was the author of the said article.

When questioned as to whether she agreed that there is no rule, regulation or legislation that the plaintiff cannot express his political feedback and observation, Yong said in the plaintiff’s capacity as the president of the Sarawak Federation of Chinese Association, he has to stay neutral as she believed it is stated quite clearly in the Societies Act 1966 that all associations registered under the Act should not meddle in matters concerning politics.

The counsel for the plaintiff then showed Yong, under clause 3 of the Constitution of Gabungan Pertubuhan Cina, Sarawak (The Federation of Chinese Associations, Sarawak), which read:

(1) to liaise and unite the Chinese associations or organisations in Sarawak for the betterment and progress of the people from all walks of life in this country.
(2) to study and promote the progress in the economy, culture, education, charity, social welfare racial in this country.
(3) To promote and safeguard the rights of the Chinese community in politics, economy, culture and education.”

He asked Yong to show the Court if there is any documentary evidence that prohibits the plaintiff in law from expressing his views publicly, Yong said she does not have any documentary evidence and she does not have any documentary evidence to show the Court that she had reported the said article in Borneo Post to the appropriate authorities.

Wee was represented by counsels Shakar Ram, Yu Ying Ying and Russel Lim whereas Kong was represented by counsels Chong Siew Chiang, Chong Chieng Jen, Sim Kiat Leng and Brenda Chong.