Electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 joined the opposition today in calling the corruption charges against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng “selective persecution”.
In a statement, the group said that the way in which the DAP lawmaker was investigated and immediately arrested was far more drastic than others who have also been investigated for corruption.
“The manner in which YAB Lim was arrested reflects selective prosecution as there are many other cases on corruption which have not been dealt with nor with such speed,” the statement read.
Bersih 2.0 was referring to, among others, the RM2.6 billion donation that was deposited into the prime minister’s personal account and Switzerland’s chief prosecutor’s allegations that some RM16.6 billion had been misappropriated from “Malaysian state companies.”
“Investigations into all these cases are still pending for more than two years,” it said.
Instead of arresting the Penang lawmaker, the authorities could have just summoned Lim to appear in court as the latter had been cooperative throughout the investigative process, the electoral reform group suggested.
“There is, therefore, no need to arrest nor for the intimidating, heavy presence of MACC and police officers at Komtar,” it said.
The group reiterated that the case should be brought to court and also urged the judiciary to display the utmost independence when dealing with the Penang chief minister.
“We strongly urge the judge to show his or her independence and fairness when delivering justice in the case,” it said.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) unexpectedly arrested Lim at his office at the Komtar yesterday, arriving as the chief minister was in the middle of chairing a meeting of his state executive council.
This morning, Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon were charged over an allegedly corrupt house purchase deal they struck last year.
Lim claimed trial to the charges ― one under Section 23 of the MACC Act and another under Section 165 of the Penal Code.
He was accused of 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.
Section 23 carries a jail term of not more than 20 years and a fine of five times the value of gratification or RM10,000 whichever is higher.
In the Penal Code charge, 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.
The second offence is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine, and forfeiture of property upon conviction.
Phang meanwhile was charged with abetment under Section 109 of the Penal Code over the sale of the house on Jalan Pinhorn to Lim.
Source –Malay Mail Online-