Guan Eng calls charge against him political attack to hinder role as Opposition MP

Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Court complex August 7, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng speaks to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Court complex August 7, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng who was charged with soliciting bribes condemned his prosecution as politically motivated to stymie his role as an Opposition lawmaker.

The Bagan MP who pled not guilty in the Special Corruption Court here earlier this morning reiterated his stand against corruption.

“This is a baseless allegation and is politically motivated to tarnish and smear me and my reputation as well as on par, and of course in my effort to execute my role as an Opposition parliamentarian.

“I want to stress that we fight corruption seriously and we will not practice corruption,” Lim told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex today.

Lim said he had never received nor requested any form gratification from anyone, adding that he made it clear to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) under questioning.

“They never asked me to show proof of whether I’ve got millions or billions of ringgit in my bank account, or whether I have millions of ringgit in cash in my possession.

“So I will stress this; there is no such gratification,” he said.

Concerning the Penang Undersea Tunnel project, the subject matter of his charge, Lim said the contractors were appointed through an open tender and not via direct award, suggesting a transparent process.  

He also said despite the charges against him, not a single sen has been paid for the project.

“I would just like to say this; I will fight to prove my innocence in court and I believe that the truth will show.

“This charge will not stop us from pursuing corruption scandals like 1MDB,” he added, referring to the scandal-ridden sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which has former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak currently on trial in the High Court.

Lim’s lawyer and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo who was also present said the charge was also flawed as the prosecutors had not mentioned the amount of the alleged bribe in the charge sheet.

“One issue is the prosecution falling short of including the alleged amount of the bribe in the charge, [which] to us is a fatal matter,” said Gobind.

“As far as we are concerned, there is no basis to the charge and we will fight it to the very end, and we will actually use the court processes to prove that my client is innocent,” he added.

Gobind said the alleged offence supposedly happened nine years ago, adding that the MACC had investigated the case previously, but didn’t push for prosecution then, questioning the decision to do so only now, with its political nemesis in power under the Perikatan Nasional administration.

“Of course we all know that there have been investigations, the MACC has done investigations before, but this has never been something that they have taken up.

“Again, insofar as we are concerned, we will fight this charge right to the end and prove my client YB Lim Guan Eng is innocent,” he said.

In solidarity with Lim, leaders from all three Pakatan Harapan parties were seen in court today, among them include DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, former natural resources minister Teresa Kok, Bakri MP and former minister Yeoh Bee Yin, former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong, former deputy women, family and community development minister Hannah Yeoh, Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng, and Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii.

Penang’s current chief minister Chow Kon Yeow and his deputy P. Ramasamy were also present, alongside fellow party members including Ipoh Barat MP S. Kulasegaran, Lanang MP Alice Lau, and Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong.

PKR leaders including Dr Xavier Jayakumar, Charles Santiago, Fahmi Fadzil were also present to show support for Lim, while prominent Parti Amanah Negara members such party secretary-general Datuk Hatta Ramli and former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad were also seen in court.

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