PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Dr Haron Din (pictured) urged the Penang chief minister to take a leave of absence as Penang chief minister until his corruption trial is concluded.

Lim Guan Eng should be a gentleman and take a leave of absence as Penang chief minister until his corruption trial is concluded, PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Dr Haron Din has said.

In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia, Utusan Malaysia’s weekend edition, Haron said such a move was customary in many countries throughout the world.

“As a gentleman, he (Guan Eng) should take leave,” the PAS leader reportedly said.

Haron added that Lim should emulate CIMB Group Holdings Bhd Chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, who took a 30-day voluntary leave of absence while the bank conducted an internal investigation over the latter’s handling of US$7 million (RM28.6 million) on behalf of his brother, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Following his leave, the bank appointed an external audit firm, Messrs Ernst & Young to assist with the review, which eventually concluded that Nazir did not misuse his position as the then group chief executive nor was there any inappropriate use of the bank’s resources.

“It has become a common practice in the modern world especially in Malaysia where a civil servant faced with a heavy charge like corruption, abuse of power, usually takes voluntary leave.

“The last case we heard was CIMB Group Holdings Bhd Chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, who took temporary leave, even though it was not an official charge and just in the news,” Haron explained.

The PAS man joins the ranks of Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders who have been calling for Lim to step down during his trial, pointing out that the opposition has numerous times demanded the same of leaders from the ruling pact.

Another party leader, Parti Cinta Malaysia’s Datuk Huan Cheng Guan, also pointed out that former Selangor chief ministers from BN — the late Datuk Seri Harun Idris, and Tan Sri Muhammad Taib, who is now with PKR — had stepped down after they were charged in court.

Harun, the longest serving Selangor mentri besar, resigned in 1976 when he was charged with corruption and abuse of state funds. He was sentenced to six years’ jail.

Muhammad resigned in 1997 when he was charged in Australia over currency irregularities, but he was found not guilty, while another former Selangor mentri besar from BN, Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, stepped down as state opposition leader when he was charged with corruption in 2010.

But despite this, DAP’s Penang chapter and national leadership have agreed that it was not necessary for Lim to leave the state helm as he has no control over the prosecution in his case.

Lim was charged with abuse of power and corruption at the Penang High Court on Thursday over the alleged approval of a rezoning application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential, as well as over his purchase of his RM2.8 million house from Phang Li Koon at below market value of RM4.27 million.

Lim, who claimed trial to two corruption charges, faces 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, if convicted for the first charge and up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine and forfeiture of property upon conviction for the second charge.

Penang DAP and the DAP national leadership have labelled the corruption charges as political persecution and insisted that Lim need not resign or take leave from his position.

Source –Malay Mail Online-

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