GEORGE TOWN, Jan 11 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today that his corruption trial, which will start on March 26, may affect his candidacy in the 14th general elections (GE14).
The Penang lawmaker, who is also DAP secretary-general, said he will have to attend the trial in the Penang High Court which will be held on four to five-day stretches between March and May.
When asked if this will affect his candidacy if GE14 were to fall on that period, he replied “perhaps”.
Lim then questioned the reasons behind the amendments to his charges.
“You are charging a chief minister. Why is there a need to amend the charges now?” he asked.
Yesterday, the Penang High Court fixed the trial for both Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon on March 26 to 30, April 9 to 12, April 23 to 27, May 7 to 10 and May 21 to 25 this year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Masry Mohd Daud presented amended charges for both Lim and Phang with minor changes to the original charges yesterday.
As both Lim and Phang were not in court yesterday, the amended charges will be read to them on March 26.
Masry has said only minor amendments were made to the charges that will not affect the nature of the charges against Lim and Phang.
Lim and Phang were charged with graft over his house purchase deal in 2015.
Lim was charged with 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.
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.
Phang meanwhile was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code for abetting Lim on July 28 last year in regards to his purchase of the house on Pinhorn Road from her for RM2.8 million which was below the market value or RM4.27 million whereby Lim had allegedly committed an offense under Section 165 of the Penal Code.