KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng pleaded not guilty after he was charged this morning with allegedly seeking a bribe to help a company be appointed for the infrastructure works including the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project.
The DAP secretary-general, whose lead counsel is Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, was formally accused of soliciting the bribe from one Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli.
The charge sheet alleged that Lim, who is also a former finance minister, asked for 10 per cent of the potential profits obtained by the contractors from the completed project.
He was accused of committing the offence near the Gardens Hotel along Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, within the capital, in March 2011, when he held the position of chief minister.
The charge was read out to Lim in Malay, who responded with “not guilty” in Malay when asked for his plea.
Lim, who was dressed in black suit and red tie, appeared calm throughout the proceedings, which was also attended by his father and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, and party leaders such as Anthony Loke and Liew Chin Tong.
Lim’s legal team also included Bukit Gelugor Ramkarpal Singh and Jelutong MP RSN Rayer. The prosecution was led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharudin Wan Ladin.
Wan Shaharudin asked for the court to set bail at RM2 million with two sureties, to compel Lim to report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters on the first week of every month, and to be prohibited from interacting with possible prosecution witnesses for fear of tampering.
Gobind countered, saying Lim’s attendance in court showed he would not abscond, and which made it redundant for him to report separately to MACC at its headquarters.
He sought bail at RM500,000 instead, saying Lim is expected to be charged in two more cases.
Judge Azura Alwi set bail at RM1 million with two sureties, and allowed for at least half of the amount to be settled by today and the remainder by August 10.
She also ordered him to surrender both his regular and diplomatic passports to the court until the disposal of the case, and reminded the accused not to make any statement that could be deemed as sub judice or in contempt of the court regarding the case.
“The accused is an experienced politician; I trust he will know what his limits are when commenting on this case, he should be able to make that distinction himself,” she said.
Lim was charged under Section 16 (a)(A) of the MACC Act 2009 for soliciting, or receiving, or agreeing to receive for himself or anyone else, any gratification as an inducement or a reward.
Those convicted can be sentenced to a maximum 20 years' jail and a fine of up to five times the value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher