Ramkarpal cites double jeopardy in Guan Eng bungalow case, after minister says MACC can reopen investigations

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh says MACC can investigate as much as it wants, but is barred from pursuing a charge against Lim, as this is expressly prohibited by the Federal Constitution. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh says MACC can investigate as much as it wants, but is barred from pursuing a charge against Lim, as this is expressly prohibited by the Federal Constitution. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — It makes no sense to reopen investigations into former finance minister Lim Guan Eng’s purchase of a bungalow, said Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh.

He said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) can investigate as much as it wants, but is barred from pursuing a charge against Lim, as this is expressly prohibited by the Federal Constitution.

“Article 7(2) of the Constitution states that person who has been acquitted or convicted of an offence shall not be tried again for the same offence except where the conviction or acquittal has been quashed and a retrial ordered by a court superior to that by which he was acquitted or convicted,” Ramkarpal said in a statement.

He argued that Article 7(2), also known as the rule against double jeopardy, clearly applies to Lim’s bungalow case as the public prosecutor did not appeal against his acquittal by the High Court in Penang.

“In any event, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the MACC before, with the Attorney General’s Chambers later finding the evidence against Lim adduced in Court was weak, resulting in its decision not to pursue the charge further.

“In the circumstances, it makes no sense to further investigate a case when such investigations cannot lead to a charge any longer,” Ramkarpal said.

He was responding to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Law Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, who said in a written reply to Parliament yesterday that the MACC may reopen investigations into Lim’s purchase of the bungalow if fresh evidence emerges.

Lim allegedly obtained the plot of land and bungalow at 25, Jalan Pinhorn in Penang in October 2015 for RM2.8 million, at below market prices. He was serving as the state’s chief minister at the time.

Investigations commenced in March 2016, which led to Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon charged in court for corruption in June that year.

This followed by a series of trials which eventually resulted in a discharge amounting to an acquittal for Lim and Phang in September 2018.

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