Photo: Lim Guan Eng's Facebook page
On June 29, 2016, Lim Guan Eng was charged under Section 23 and Section 165 of the Anti-Corruption Act.
The first charge was over the alleged approval of a rezoning application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential – apparently, this charge was related to the sale of state land in Taman Manggis to private developers. [Note: But the Penang Island City Council has already withheld its approval; so what's the issue?]
The second charge related to the July 28, 2015 purchase of a modest two-storey bungalow at below market value. LGE paid RM2.8 million to Phang Li Koon for the Pinhorn Road property that was valued at RM4.27 million. [Note: The Penang chief minister had been renting the house from her for several years prior to the said purchase].
Original pic from The Star
Moreover, Phang had declared that she had no interest whatsoever in the company which tendered for the plot of state land, nor was she involved in their management in any form, at any stage.
The Penang chief minister had also taken great pains to explain that the plot was sold via an open tender committee chaired by the federal-appointed state secretary.
Having witnessed how former parliamentary opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had been charged in court, found guilty and jailed first in Sodomy I and then Sodomy II; how the late DAP chairperson and long-time opposition MP Karpal Singh had been charged and found guilty for sedition; Lim Guan Eng himself jailed on two extended occasions; and so many other opposition leaders and ordinary citizens critical of the UMNO government have been and continue to be arrested, charged and punished with fines and jail sentences under coercive laws ranging from the Sedition Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act, SOSMA, POTA, the Peaceful Assembly Act, to the Penal Code, it was just a matter of time before LGE would be arrested and charged, again.
BUT in Malaysia, democracy is already dying. Our judicial and legal processes, like so many other government institutions including the MACC, the Attorney-General’s Office and the police, have been compromised as a result of almost 60 years of continued UMNO rule.
The Penang chief minister claimed trial to both charges and said they were part of a conspiracy by BN to tarnish the good name and image of the DAP-led state administration.
Indeed, MACC have proved they are really supercapable and superefficient – LGE’s investigation was completed in under four months. Compare this with former Selangor menteri besar Khir Toyo, who also bought a very cheap bungalow – it took the MACC almost one-and-a-half years to build up the case against him.
Whether LGE is guilty of corruption or not is best left to the two major Malaysian courts – the legal courts and the court of public opinion. In the Malaysian context, both are important.
In any case, corruption by public officials is a grave matter and since LGE has been charged – it is hoped that he will be given a fair trial. So far, the case stinks to high heaven.
On Saturday, I was at Mantra Rooftop Bar & Lounge in Bangsar Village 2 in KL's Jalan Telawi 1 to attend our maiden LG Lite meeting. It was just a 'lite' meeting and yet, we had five project speakers. Altogether, there were ten of us.
I had started on my CC manual in Malay and I am determined to finish it. And so, I delivered my CC #3 speech in the language. I was speaker #2 and Toh Siew Pat provided me with feedback also in Malay. Believe me, it was not easy!
In the above photo, Angela Yap and Andrew Tan are missing because they came late.
After this Liquid Gold meeting, we adjourned to nearby Raj's Banana Leaf in Jalan Telawi for dinner. Thank you, Andrew Tan for being the generous sponsor!