Wee vs Kong libel suit: Chinese community leader says associations not involved in politics

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By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Oct 7: Former Board of Management for Kuching Chung Hua Primary School No. 1 to 6 chairman Dato Wong Tiong Hook took the stand as the sixth witness in the defamation suit filed by Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations Dato Richard Wee over a Facebook post by Michael Kong.

Kong is a special assistant to Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

Wong, 72, during the cross-examination in the Kuching High Court here today, was asked by the defendant’s counsel, Chong, whether the plaintiff in his capacity as the president of the Federation of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions Chinese Associations expressed support for the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government in an article published by a local daily.

Wong answered in the negative, saying that doing so would be the plaintiff’s own view or opinion.

Wong stressed that leaders of the Chinese community always discussed Sarawak politics, including welfare, economic matters, education, healthcare, Sarawak’s development, as well as religion and racial harmony.

Wong said, Wee as the president of the federation is a bridge between the Chinese community and the State government where he listens to the voice of the Chinese community and brings matters to the State government.

When questioned by Chong as to whether Wee could also give his view to support any political party on behalf of the federation, Wong said he could not because the federation and other associations are not involved in politics.

“We as the leaders of the Chinese community, if the policy of the party is good for the people of Sarawak, we will support, including (those by) DAP.”

When Chong asked Wong whether Wong agreed that the key message of the defendant’s Facebook post is to request the plaintiff to disclose his personal business interest with the current GPS government, in particular the leaders of PBB. Wong disagreed.

Chong then asked, is there anything wrong and unfair for the defendant to request the plaintiff to disclose such business connections and personal interest before purporting to make his political stand and speak in support of GPS government on behalf of the Chinese community? Wong said what the defendant said in his Facebook post about the plaintiff is very unfair to the Chinese community.

In response to another question from Chong, Wong said the plaintiff is not the top leader of the Chinese community in Sarawak.

Wong said Wee’s words are representative as the president of the Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations and the vice-president of Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia.

During an earlier cross-examination, Wee was asked by Chong about his relationship with Wong. Wee said they served together in the Hokkien Association and Chung Hua Middle School No. 1, 3 and 4 management board and Wong was nominated by the Foochow Association to the Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division, Sarawak and they also served in various sporting bodies.

Kong had on July 21, 2020 uploaded a Facebook post allegedly containing a defamatory element against Wee.

Wee through his counsel Shankar Ram Asnani filed legal action 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 counsels Shakar Ram, Yu Ying Ying and Russel Lim whereas Kong was represented by counsels Chong Chieng Jen and Sim Kiat Leng. — DayakDaily