Needled by Najib, Guan Eng says wife’s case nothing like Rosmah

Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew arrive at the Butterworth courthouse August 11, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew arrive at the Butterworth courthouse August 11, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng rejected Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s comparison between the cases of former’s wife and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, both of whom were now on trial for corruption.

The former finance minister said that unlike Rosmah, his wife Betty Chew was not found to be in possession of luxury items valued at over hundreds of million ringgit.

“From his tone, Najib may feel that my wife will have to go through what his wife went through. These corruption allegations against both of us are baseless. I am furious that my wife has been targeted even though she does not involve herself in government affairs. 

“More so when I am not capable enough to give her 12,000 pieces of jewellery comprising 2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 2,100 bracelets, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches, 14 tiaras or 423 luxury wristwatches (notably from Rolex, Chopard and Richard Mille), 234 luxury sunglasses (notably from Versace and Cartier), 567 luxury handbags from 72 brands (notably from Chanel, Prada, Versace, Bijan, KWANPEN and Judith Leiber), 272 handbags from Hermès (Birkin bag) or RM116 million in over 26 different currencies,” Lim said in a statement today.

Lim again sought to differentiate the authorities’ treatment of him and how they had handled Najib, pointing out that the latter was never locked up overnight like him despite the charges against the former prime minister including seven that have resulted in convictions.

He also noted that he has suffered the experience of being imprisoned for 18 months and detained for as long without trial under the repealed Internal Security Act.

Najib was questioned repeatedly at the MACC’s headquarters in Putrajaya after the investigations into the 1MDB scandal restarted in 2018 but he was not held in the commission’s lockup facilities prior to being charged.

On Thursday last week, the MACC summoned Lim to its headquarters at night where they arrested and locked him up overnight ahead of charging him with allegedly soliciting a bribe over the Penang undersea tunnel project.

Lim alleged the following day that he was made to wear the orange jumpsuit given to detainees and made to sleep on a wooden floor, which he insisted was an experience Najib never encountered.

MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki responded by telling Lim to report any grievance he has about his treatment to the police.

Today, Lim said he was not complaining about being locked up but rather that apparent preferential treatment.

However, he went on to challenge Azam about the information of his arrest and prosecution that was leaked to the political rivals days beforehand.

“Is MACC taking action or pretending ignorance against this leak of secret information?” he asked.

Aside from the charge last week, the MACC also presented another two corruption charges against Lim in Penang this week.

They also charged his wife and businesswoman Phang Li Koon with corruption and money-laundering.

Lim, Chew, and Phang had all been charged with corruption related to a property purchase but were acquitted in 2018. 

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