BY GABRIEL LIHAN
KUCHING: A new trial date has been set by the Kuching High Court for the defamation suit filed by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian against Michael Kong, special assistant to Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen.
Kuching High Court Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew How Wai yesterday fixed the dates for the case from March 20 to April 6, 2023 and vacated the trial dates that were fixed initially, which were July 4 to 15 this year.
Judicial Commissioner Siew also dismissed the plaintiff’s application to stay all the proceedings of this case pending the full and final determination of the appeal to the Court of Appeal.
In the defamation suit filed by Dr Sim against Kong, the plaintiff had applied to the Kuching High Court to recuse Judicial Commissioner Siew from hearing the case.
With that, Judicial Commissioner Siew dismissed the said recusal of the judge’s application of the plaintiff on August 24 last year.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff had applied to the Judicial Commissioner to stay all further proceedings of this case pending the full and final determination of the appeal to the Court of Appeal.
In 2020, Dr Sim took legal action against Kong over allegedly defamatory statements on the allocations of funds for food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was reported that Kong had accused Dr Sim of wrongfully taking control of fundings for food assistance allocated to Padungan, Batu Lintang, Pending and Kota Sentosa, amounting to RM800,000.
Furthermore, Dr Sim accused DAP leaders of going overboard with their attacks against him without basis and verifying the facts beforehand.
Dr Sim is represented by counsels Shankar and Datuk Bong Ah Loi while Kong is represented by counsel Chong.