KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — A defiant Lim Guan Eng promised today to put up a good fight to protect Penang’s image after he was charged with corruption over his house purchase last year, adding that no amount of humiliation would succeed in bringing him to his knees.
The Penang chief minister in a statement shortly after he was granted bail by the Penang High Court also maintained that he was innocent of the charges and that the government he heads in the northern state is free from power abuse and corruption.
He blamed Barisan Nasional (BN) for the charges, also questioning the federal administration’s alleged failure to take its own to court over other cases of corruption involving billions of ringgit.
“BN can prosecute me but I will not kill my passion to free Malaysia from corruption. BN can victimise me but will not crush my spirit to free Malaysia from those who steal our children’s future.
“BN can humiliate me by unnecessarily detaining me overnight but will not succeed in changing white to black and black to white, right cannot become wrong and wrong cannot become right,” Lim said in the statement.
Lim was kept overnight at the Penang Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) headquarters in George Town after he was picked up by enforcers yesterday from his Komtar office.
“BN will not break my party's unity — we stand together as leaders and members to battle for reforms towards a better Malaysia with freedom, justice and democracy.
“If BN feels that they can bend or break me by arresting me, they are wrong! I will die standing than live on bended knees,” the DAP secretary-general added.
The leader who is now in his second term as chief minister also disagreed with comparisons drawn between his case and that of former Selangor mentri besar Khir Toyo’s, pointing out that the businesswoman who sold him his house, Phang Li Koon, had not made any losses.
Instead, he said, Phang had recorded a small profit of RM300,000 from the sale.
Lim and Phang are both facing charges over the allegedly corrupt house purchase deal they struck last year.
Lim is facing two charges — one under Section 23 of the MACC Act and another under Section 165 of the Penal Code.
He is accused of using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential purpose during a state planning committee meeting on July 18, 2014.
Section 23 carries a jail term of not more than 20 years and a fine of five times the value of gratification or RM10,000 whichever is higher.
In the Penal Code charge, Lim is alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from Phang at RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million on July 28, 2015.
The second offence is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine, and forfeiture of property upon conviction.
Phang meanwhile has been charged with abetment under Section 109 of the Penal Code over the sale of the house on Jalan Pinhorn to Lim.
Bail was set today at RM1 million for Lim and RM200,000 for Phang.