(24 March 2001)

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Yong Teck Lee said he instructed his lawyers to issue a Letter Before Action to Yee after the latter's Dec. 27, 1997 press statement to the effect that he (Yong) was under ACA investigation.

He said Yee proceeded with the ACA report although he (Yong) had issued a statement that the State Government is accountable and the Government would explain the matter in due course, which was published on that same day (Dec 31).

He said if Yee had confined his report only to the ACA and let the ACA conduct its investigation then it is a different matter.

"I find it malicious and vicious that the defendant found it necessary to circulate the report to the media for publication," he said.

"Surely the defendant must have read my statement that was already published on the day he lodged his ACA report," he said.

"Generally, the report circulated to the media is like calling me a criminal," he said, adding this distressed him a lot because its wide publication made a lot of people "believe that I'm therefore a criminal under investigation".

Yong further said the ACA never took a statement nor interviewed him over the matter.

He also argued that Yee's contention in the ACA report as reported in the newspapers on Dec. 31, 1997 that "it was widely held that the shares would plunge" is highly speculative.

Yong also said he had no knowledge whether Yee ever contacted the management of Warisan regarding the transaction.

When examination-in-chief resumed in the afternoon, Yong said the "part which hurt the most" was when Yee said that Yong must apologise to the people of Sabah for the multi-million loss in the deal.

"The defendant (Yee) was trying to incite hatred against me by saying that I should apologise to all the people," he said, adding that the news that appeared on Jan.1, 1998, totally ruined his New Year's Day.

"It was very painful to be greeted with such news on New Year's Day. It is a day that we have many open houses to visit, it was also the day that I was a guest-of-honour and witness to the swearing-in of th Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

"I was gravely embarrassed, (the press statement on the ACA report by Yee) was calculated to cost maximum damage to my reputation and maximum embarrassment to me...I felt this was malice," he said.

He said the Chief Executive Officer of Warisan Harta had also issued a statement to clarify the issue.

When asked what he meant when he said that "all is well and none is lost" in his press statement, Yong said:

"The basis is my understanding of the whole composite transaction is that the company would benefit from it and further the company is sufficiently protected".

Yong said he as no problem when the question was asked as a Member of Parliament but "in this instance, the Defendant (Yee) has gone far over the hull, if I may explain, MP can ask question which are intended in good faith to obtain answers.

"That MPs can do in Parliament or through official correspondence, in this case here today, so many allegations made, with all kinds of insinuations," he said.

On whether he received any support from the Barisan Nasional leaders on the matter and on the transaction after the statement made by him and the CEO of Warisan Harta, Yong said "Generally yes".

At 4:35pm, Justice Sulong adjourned tht proceedings to 10am on Tuesday (March 27).


Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas






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