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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Ex-Sabah DAP chief wins legal suit against Ex-Deputy

KOTA KINABALU - Former Sabah DAP Chief Jimmy Wong won the legal suit against his former Sabah DAP colleague over press statements which allegedly ruined his image and reputation.
High Court Judge Ravinthran N. Paramaguru awarded Wong RM100,000 in damages and also ordered the defendant, Fred Fung Kong Win, to pay RM30,000 in costs to Wong.

Ravinthran, in delivering his decision on Thursday, held that the defendant failed to prove the defence of justification on balance of probability and therefore gave the judgement in favour of the plaintiff.

Wong, who is Kota Kinabalu MP, had claimed damages against Fung, formerly DAP Deputy Chief, for two press statements in the middle of 2015, published in a local media, which Wong alleged was calculated by Fung to ruin his image and reputation.

According to Wong (plaintiff) in his writ of summons, Fung (defendant) made the slanderous remarks in the first article that appeared in the Daily Express dated June 30, 2015 entitled "DAP told to come clean on amount" and again in an ensuing article dated July 7, 2015 entitled "Nothing to apologise: Ex-DAP No.2."

In the first article, Fung had asked Wong who was then Sabah DAP Chief to disclose the amount of donations collected by the party for its Mount Kinabalu Earthquake Relief Fund meant for the Ranau quake victims.

In the article, Fung was reported as saying that he had enquired Wong about the whereabouts of the money numerous times but his enquiries fell on deaf ears.

In the ensuing article which Wong claimed to be libellous, Fung was reported as saying that he had nothing to apologise to Wong over the election funds issue and maintained his stand that the RM180,000 election fund was not banked into Sabah DAP's account.

Wong said the two articles were defamatory as they suggested that he had abused his power, embezzled RM180,000 collected from the public and that he was a dishonest person involved in corrupt practices.

Fred Fung
Wong claimed exemplary damages in view of the serious and damaging nature and recklessness of Fung based on the two impugned articles and words in them.

Furthermore, Wong said on Sept 9, 2015 he had demanded a retraction, apology and payment of damages through his solicitors but Fung refused.

Wong had also sought general or compensatory damages to be assessed by the court, aggravated damages, an injunction to stop Fung from issuing or speaking about the issues ever again, among others.

Wong was represented by counsel Hamid Hamzah while Fung was represented by counsel Chin Tek Ming. - Jo Ann Mool

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