Richard Wee vs Wong King Wei: Kong’s Facebook statement considered defamatory

Wong King Wei (left) and Richard Wee.

KUCHING: Incumbent Padungan assemblyman, Wong King Wei, told the High Court here today (Nov 18) that the statement of special assistant to Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Micheal Kong on social media last year concerning Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations (SFCA) president, Datuk Richard Wee, was defamatory and involved personal interests.

Wong, who was called to be the seventh witness in the civil suit, said he was ashamed of Kong’s disregard for Wee who had supported PH by donating money during political talks held by the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

“As politicians, we should not launch personal attacks or belittle someone using social media platforms like Facebook for personal gain.

“Therefore, on July 26, I chose to leave DAP because I was disappointed with PH for not fulfilling its promise to the people when they held the reins of government,” he said during a question-and-answer session with the plaintiff and defendant’s lawyers.

He stressed that his resignation as DAP vice-president was not an easy decision because he had to think about what would happen in the future if he left the party.

He added that his heart grew bitter when he saw the party diverting from its original path when it failed to fulfil promises such as the 50 percent tax revenues and 20 percent oil and gas tax for the state as well as recognising the UEC.

“Padungan state constituency has 92 percent Chinese voters. They are also disappointed when PH failed to fulfil its promises and I refuse to be with DAP again as they have not been able to fulfil its promises to the people,” he said.

In response, Counsel Chong Chieng Jen questioned his integrity and accused him of failing to shoulder his responsibilities as the party’s vice-president.

In a related development, Wee decided to file a civil suit claiming that Kong posted a defamatory statement about him on his Facebook page on July 21 last year.

The statement claimed that he (Wee) had said that many Chinese voters in the city would give their support to Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the 12th state election because of the government’s commitment to fighting for Sarawak rights.

Kong went on to say that before Wee spoke could speak from the Chinese supporting the GPS government, he should declare his business and personal interest in GPS, especially concerning the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).

Wee described Kong’s criticism as baseless and a personal attack on his reputation and position.

He was represented by lawyer Shankar Ram while Kong was represented by Chong Chieng Jen.

As the trial of the case has not been completed, Judge Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab adjourned the trial to 9.30am on November 19.