High Court dismisses Sim’s defamation suit against Chong

By Emma Victoria

THE Kuching High Court has dismissed Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian’s defamation suit against Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen over the allocation of funds for Covid-19 food assistance.

Judicial Commissioner Alexander Siew made the ruling yesterday after finding the explanation for the one-month delay for the plaintiff’s bundle of documents and even longer delay for the bundle of pleadings to be nonsensical and non-believable.

He said the court has dismissed the plaintiff’s action for default in complying with the directions of the court with costs of RM30,000.

“A litigant holding back his bundle of documents for a month in defiance of directions while having the opportunity to peruse the bundle of documents of his adversarial is guilty of obstruction of justice and guilty of compromising the integrity of the trial.

Siew had referred Shankar Ram to the Advocates’ Disciplinary Tribunal for the latter’s conduct.

Michael Kong, who represented Chong in the case, said it was now up to the defendant how he wished to proceed with the counter claim in light of the court’s ruling.

“The next mention is fixed on Jan 22,” he added.

Sim had decided to take legal action against several state DAP leaders over alleged defamatory statements on the allocation of funds for food assistance amid the Covid-19 crisis in April last year.

He accused the DAP leaders of going overboard with their attacks against him “without basis and without verifying the facts beforehand”.

Sim said funding for food assistance was given by the Sarawak government to all divisional disaster management committees and not to the assemblymen’s service centres.