KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — DAP’s Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham has accused Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob of lying when the minister claimed he was referring to other individuals with the surname “Ngeh” in an allegedly defamatory Facebook posting.
In backing up his arguments that he is the only individual that would be publicly associated with DAP, Ngeh pointed out that he had led the party’s Perak state branch for 16 years before relinquishing the post last November.
“There’s only one Ngeh in the whole of Perak. I’ve been chairman of DAP Perak for the last 16 years. As far as I know, there’s only one Ngeh, no other Ngeh,” the current Perak DAP advisor told Malay Mail Online today.
In a Facebook post that has since been removed, Ismail told Malays to fight against unscrupulous Chinese traders by boycotting their establishments, singling out popular cafe chain Oldtown White Coffee as an example of such a business and linked it to a “Ngeh family DAP Perak” that he said was purportedly known to be “anti-Islam”.
Yesterday, the cafe chain’s owner Oldtown Berhad clarified that it has no affiliations with any political party or politician, while Ngeh had yesterday also denied owning any shares in the firm.
Ngeh also said today that there were others sharing his similar surname in Mandarin in the political scene such as his cousin and current Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming, but pointed out that the spelling of their surnames in English are different.
In a statement today, Ngeh accused Ismail of “lying” to escape responsibility over the purported defamation, citing the Umno politician’s alleged defence that he was not referring specifically to Ngeh and his family.
“There is only one DAP Ngeh family in whole of Perak and that is my family. I challenged him to name another that he has known when he made the said defamatory statement,” the DAP deputy secretary-general wrote in the statement.
In the same statement where he urged the prime minister to sack Ismail for allegedly stirring racial disharmony and acting without verification, Ngeh spoke of the dangers in allowing individuals who “lie” to continue wielding public posts.
“The danger posed by a man holding public office who is willing to lie to escape responsibility is greater than a man holding public office being involved in a sexual scandal. The former will cause great harm to the country while the damage caused by the latter is often confined to himself and his family,” the Beruas MP said.
Ngeh also told Malay Mail Online that he had lodged a police report against Ismail Sabri this afternoon at the Ipoh police headquarters.
In the copy of the police report sighted by Malay Mail Online, Ngeh said Ismail’s call to the Malays to boycott Chinese businesses to pressure them to lower their retail prices was “clearly inflammatory” and would lead to “discord and disharmony” between the two ethnic groups.
He also claimed in the police report that the minister had defamed him and his family with the “untrue” label of “anti-Islam”.
Ngeh, who is also a lawyer, told Malay Mail Online that there are three possible offences which Ismail can be probed under, including Sections 3 and 4 of the Sedition Act, Sections 499 and 500 of the Penal Code for criminal defamation, and Section 298A of the Penal Code.
Ngeh reiterated his demands for a public apology from Ismail within two days, warning that he will initiate legal action if the minister fails to do so.
Yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police said the federal minister will be called in for questioning.