KUCHING, Dec 5 — The High Court here was told yesterday that Democratic Action Party Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen is opposing certain parts of Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian’s amended witness statement in relation to the defamation suit filed by the latter over the allocation of Covid-19 food aid funds in 2020.
Chong’s counsel Michael Kong informed the court that on December 1, 2023, the defendant’s side had written to the plaintiff’s advocate to register its opposition.
Kong said among others, some of Chong’s Facebook posts mentioned in the amended witness statement were targeted at Gabungan Parti Sarawak or the state government and not Dr Sim.
“It is not part of the plaintiff’s pleaded case, and we say that it is irrelevant to the words complained of,” he said.
Dr Sim’s counsel Shankar Ram Asnani, however, insisted that the items his client’s witness statement were all relevant.
“They relate to the conduct of the defendant from the time of the publication of the first Facebook post dated April 15, 2020, and the second Facebook post dated April 18, 2020, right up to the time of trial.
“Such conduct of the defendant at all stages in a libel case is relevant on the issues of conduct, motive, malice and damages which ought to be considered at the end of the day, and not be salami-sliced in a piecemeal manner to detach or expunge crucial evidence in this case,” said Shankar.
In 2020, Dr Sim, who is Sarawak United People’s Party president, filed the suit over Chong’s allegation that the deputy premier had failed to manage food aid funds worth RM800,000 meant for four opposition-held state constituencies — Padungan, BatuLintang, Pending and Kota Sentosa.
Shankar is assisted by Yu Ying Ying and Russell Lim, while Kong by Chong Siew Chiang and Brenda Chong.
The defamation suit heard before judge Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab will continue on Dec 11, with Dr Sim set to testify. — Borneo Post Online