KUCHING (October 12): The High Court here was told yesterday by defendant Michael Kong that his Facebook post simply asked plaintiff Dato Richard Wee to be open and transparent about his business interests with the current Gabungan government Sarawak Party (GPS).
Under cross-examination by Wee’s attorney, Shankar Ram Asnani, Kong disagreed when told that his Facebook post was intended to incite hatred in the Chinese community against the plaintiff.
Kong: I do not agree with this allegation. It is clear from the statement that I simply asked the claimant to be open and transparent about his business interests with the current GPS government. This can be seen in the opening paragraph and closing paragraph of my Facebook post dated July 21, 2020, where I emphasized the need for the complainant to disclose all associations and business relationships through the government GPS before speaking out on political issues.
Shankar: Your Facebook post clearly made a statement linking the Complainant to corruption, nepotism and sordid dealings that depend on dealings with elites and the GPS government and with the Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Party (PBB).
Kong: I disagree that there were connotations that there was corruption, nepotism and sordid relations between the complainant and the GPS elites or government. I take this court to align one of the last paragraph of my Facebook post dated July 21, 2020, where I clarified that there is freedom of expression and association.
Kong, who is a special assistant to Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, is being sued for defamation by entrepreneur Wee, who is also chairman of the Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations, for allegedly disparaging his reputation via the Facebook post of July 21, 2020.
Kong further told the court that by issuing such a statement, he made it clear that it was acceptable for the plaintiff to want to continue to be an associate of Ibrahim Baki, then Deputy General Secretary of PBB, provided that a such association is brought to the attention of the public before the applicant makes a statement or a political position.
Kong is the last defense witness in the defamation trial, which is being presided over by Judge Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab.
On July 21, 2020, Kong posted a statement on his Facebook page containing alleged defamatory comments against Wee.
Wee seeks general damages, exemplary damages for defamation and malicious falsehood, and an injunction to restrain defendant from publishing, causing to be published, circulating and distributing said message.
Attorneys Yu Ying Ying and Russell Lim are assisting Shankar, while Kong is represented by Chong who is assisted by attorney Sim Kiat Leng.
The trial continues today.