Friday, August 07, 2020

Guan Eng charged with corruption - Supporters angry just like Najib's supporters were when Najib charged? Be true to values and principles?

When former Prime Minister Najib was charged, many of his supporters shouted 'injustice' and 'political persecution, etc ....and now when Lim Guan Eng has been charged, likewise his supporters are claiming the same...Is this not funny?

Malaysians need to stand by their values and principles....friend or foe, being a 'victim' of the administration of justice mechanisms in Malaysia ought to receive a similar response > The courts, after a fair trial, will decide on guilt or innocence > and until that the presumption that one is innocent until proven guilty applies.

Law enforcers and prosecutors, and judges must always be INDEPENDENT and carry out their duties and responsibilities independently in accordance to the law. They ought never to be found acting according to the instructions, and/or 'whims and fancies' of the government of the day.

Right to CRIMINAL COMPENSATION for victims must be put in place - Anyone charged, tried and found NOT guilty deserves to be COMPENSATED by the State. Anyone, who have been charged, and then find the prosecution discontinuing the case mid-stream ought to be compensated.

Anyone arrested and remanded but then are not charged in court also deserves to be COMPENSATED by the State.

This is only JUST - for whenever anyone is arrested, remanded and/or charged, the reasonably will have suffered much losses - impact on their jobs, business and/or income, the cost that they had to incur in engagement of lawyers and defending themselves, the cost they suffered in how their name/image gets affected by such enforcement/prosecutions - the biggest victim is always the POOR - the rich lesser.

We need a good and independent enforcement and prosecution - and thus the EXISTENCE of criminal compensation would DETER wrongful(or unnecessary) arrest, remand and/or prosecution.

CRIMINAL COMPENSATION rates - well, reasonably it is best that it be legislated, setting a fixed sum, the same for the poor and the very rich. [Of course, even after receiving this legal compensation, nothing is preventing further civil court actions asking for additional damages and cost.

In a civil case, the courts do award costs - which will cover some(if not all) the monies expended for lawyers, etc BUT not so in CRIMINAL cases - you may be freed without charge, charged but found not guilty - but the victim is not even compensated for the cost that he had incurred in his defence - the cost of lawyers, etc... THAT is why CRIMINAL COMPENSATION must be an automatic legal right.

Now, every Malaysian knows, that no one needs to be remanded and forced to stay in police lock-ups to facilitate police or other enforcement agencies investigations - INVESTIGATION can still continue without any REMAND - This is the awareness after what happened to Najib, Rosmah, Zahid Ibrahim, etc... Police can arrest and release suspects, simply requiring them to turn up at that time or this time for the purposes of investigations - However, if they fail to turn up, then there may be no choice but to arrest and detain under remand for investigations...

PAKATAN HARAPAN plus government came into power with the promise of REFORMS - but, after they got power, many are disappointed that the promises of REFORM was not speedily implemented - especially the REPEAL of bad laws, including the bad provisions in some laws.

SOSMA was not repealed, let alone amended - an amendment to allows for Bail for those charged with the many offences listed in SOSMA also did not happen.

SEDITION Act - Not only was it not repealed, but it was also used during the PH reign. Some argued that it may be still needed for 'seditious' comments made against the Royalty - well, then it could have been amended at the very least. Sedition is a bad law because it criminalizes even statements which are TRUE and/or justified. So, even if you say something true, it still could be an offence under the Sedition Act.

Detention Without Trial laws like POCA, POTA still exist...The problem with Detention Without Trial laws, is that the victim cannot even challenge in court the REASONS used by the government to detain/restrict a person. So, false reasons can be used, can they not? And you have NO right to challenge it even in court. These laws can be used because they simply cannot prove the person guilty in court? Guilt is determined by Court - but under Detention Without Trial laws, they simply allow the authorities to avoid the Courts. But PH did not repeal these laws...

Many are angry about what happened in the Musa Aman case, where the prosecution discontinued proceedings and the courts acquitted them. ACQUITTAL means that even if later new and sufficient evidence comes to light, then the person acquitted CAN NEVER again be charged for the same offences. Normally prosecution discontinues a criminal case because on evaluation, prosecution may decide that there is insufficient evidence not to successfully prove the guilt of the person/accussed beyond reasonable doubt to get a conviction. To continue any criminal case in that situation, with the high possibility that the accused will get ACQUITTED is unjust and foolish - so they discontinue the case, and justly the court will 'DISCHARGE NOT AMOUNTING AN ACQUITTAL'.

Many were unhappy as to what happened in the 'Cowgate Scandal' case, but then, when PH came into power, the same happened in the Lim Guan Eng and even the LTTE case.

So when the PH Plus lost power, by reason of 'party hopping' and other reasons, and during the rule of the new Perikatan Nasional government, similar things happen in the Musa Aman's case - I would say that the now opposition, previously in PH Plus, have simply lost the MORAL AUTHORITY to criticize.

Do DAP, PKR, Amanah, Warisan and others in the PH PLUS government previously have the MORAL AUTHORITY anymore ...OR the people's trust anymore?

Even if the MAJORITY in the PH Plus government decided not to REPEAL these bad laws, parties that held a different position could always VOICE out their differences so everyone knows. They could have said that the party wanted to abolish this and that bad LAW but will abide with the majority decision of the coalition government members > Then, at least people will know that these parties have not changed or abandoned the stance/positions.

Nazri Aziz, when Minister in Barisan Nasional, several times came out and stated his personal position that the death penalty ought to be abolished, but he also said that it was his personal position, and not the position of the then Cabinet (or even his own party or the BN).

Likewise, individual political parties and politicians in the PH Plus government, could have done the same - reassuring members and supporters that their 'position', principles and struggles remain the same - but alas, they generally did not - and some of them, as Ministers, continued to use these draconian bad laws.

Najib's supporters continue to believe in his innocence, despite the conviction by the High Court ...and now Guan Eng's supporters is doing the same...

Is LIM GUAN ENG guilty? Well, nothing wrong with having and expressing your personal opinions - but it is BEST that we wait for the TRIAL and let the courts decide especially when the charges are about corruption or abuse of powers...

Different would be if the offence were connected to words spoken or comments made, or even exercising of one's right to freedom of expression, opinion and/or peaceful assembly?

Is Guan Eng innocent of these corruption and abuse of power charges? Are all Opposition politicians 'crime-free'? Nobody can 100% say this is the case - we just do not know.

We simply have to trust the prosecution and the Judges will be truly INDEPENDENT and do their jobs as required by law, uninfluenced by the politicians and/or the government of the day.

Judges are also human and thus not infallible. They can make 'mistakes'. Remember the Altantuya murder trial - the High Court convicted, then the Court of Appeal reversed the decision and acquitted, and then Federal Court decided that otherwise and convicted the two. Today, with media reporting of some cases, the ordinary man will be able to also see what happens in court ...and may even form their own opinion of guilt or innocence, which may be different from the decision of the courts, that is OK with regard to personal opinions, but what the courts ultimately decide INDEPENDENTLY stands as the final decision. Even after the Federal Court decides, the convicted still has options to apply for reviews, etc - to urge the courts to reconsider.

Was the discontinuance and acquittal in the 'Cowgate scandal case', the previous Lim Guan Eng's case, the LTTE case, the Musa Aman's case not INDEPENDENT decisions of the court, or were they 'politically' or otherwise influenced? If they were, do we in Malaysia have sufficient avenues to ensure Justice be done? Is there are NEED for reform.

LTTE case - the problem then was the unhappiness with the denial of bail under SOSMA...and the unhappiness of the offence of being in possession books, posters and other materials (allegedly terrorist material)- Then, the PH Plus government should have done the following fast:-
- REPEAL or amend SOSMA
- Remove such offences of possessing books, articles and paraphenelia allegedly related to 'terrorism' from the current list of SOSMA offences;
- Repealed that offence of possession of such materials as an offence in Malaysia

BUT then after the discontinuation of proceedings and ACQUITTAL of the accused in the LTTE case, PH PLUS failed to do this > not even the Tabling of a Bill for first reading.

Did any of the MPs even table a 'Private Member's Bill', which they can do as was done by then Hadi Awang when he was in Opposition - that motion to amend Act 355, that will give power to state government the power to increase penalties for Syariah offences - in terms of length of imprisonment, fines and/or even 'whipping'. Hadi, in his motion NEVER asked for the cutting of limbs, and clearly did not want the death penalty. Act 355, just like the Local Government and Housing Act and similar Acts, that restricts State powers for matters that really ought to be under the State according to our Federal Constitution really ought to be REPEALED. Such a Federal Law also prevented State Governments from having Local Council elections in their States. DAP and PKR were for Local Council Elections - but when in power simply did not REPEAL that Federal law that prevents State Government from having Local Council Elections in their State. WHY?

During the previous BN rule, many of the powers of the State and Local Government have been removed/restricted by the Federal Government through Federal laws - and may not be right?

Because of his previous acquittal, LIM GUAN ENG can never be charged again for the same offences...and that is certainly not right, for we can never know what other evidence may emerge later, which may be sufficient to find him guilty of these crimes.

Corruption and abuse of powers was major concern pre-GE14, but has there been any new and clearer laws and offences brought in by PH PLus?

End of the day - let us stick to our principles and values > and not be swayed by politicians and political parties.

REMEMBER - the anger of many in Malaysia is the unhappiness with sudden change of the 'coalition government' and the return of power of BN, even before the PH Plus(Alternative Government) had the opportunity to show the people of Malaysia how they can be a better government for Malaysia - Many will say, that the promised reforms were coming and would have come during their term, that suddenly got shortened. But the fact, is that it did not come fast within the first 20 plus months of rule - but also a concern, that they all changed after they managed to come into power...

Guan Eng claims trial to allegedly soliciting bribes from Penang undersea tunnel project contractor

Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng arrives at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex August 7, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng arrives at the Kuala Lumpur
Court Complex August 7, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng pleaded not guilty after he was charged this morning with allegedly seeking a bribe to help a company be appointed for the infrastructure works including the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project.

The DAP secretary-general, whose lead counsel is Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, was formally accused of soliciting the bribe from one Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli.

The charge sheet alleged that Lim, who is also a former finance minister, asked for 10 per cent of the potential profits obtained by the contractors from the completed project.

He was accused of committing the offence nearby the Gardens Hotel along Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, within the capital, in March 2011, when he held the position of chief minister.

The charge was read out to Lim in Malay, who responded with “not guilty” in Malay when asked for his plea. - Malay Mail, 7/8/2020

Fresh evidence led to acquittal of Lim Guan Eng: DPP

The Penang High Court's acquittal of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng shocked the anti-graft agency.
The Penang High Court's acquittal of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng shocked the anti-graft agency.

He defends move to drop graft case amid calls for more transparency on basis for decision

Malaysia's deputy public prosecutor (DPP) has defended his decision to drop the corruption case against Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, amid calls for more transparency and scrutiny of whether there was political interference in the process.

DPP Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria said in a statement yesterday that the charges against Mr Lim were withdrawn after fresh evidence surfaced during the trial.

Without giving details, Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah said that the evidence had emerged during the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses.

"I concluded that as a result of the cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses who have testified so far, the evidence supporting the first charge under Section 23 of the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) Act and under Section 165 of the Penal Code has been substantially weakened. This conclusion was arrived in the light of fresh evidence that has arisen during the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses," he said.

"I would not be fulfilling my duties as deputy public prosecutor to let the case continue, knowing full well that the case against both Lim Guan Eng and (businesswoman) Phang Li Koon would not succeed at the end of the prosecution case," he said.

On Monday, the Penang High Court acquitted Mr Lim of two charges - that he used his former position as chief minister of Penang to approve the conversion of land, and that he gained gratification for himself by buying a bungalow below market value.

The prosecution had asked for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, but the judge ordered a full acquittal instead.

Fuelling the outcry over Mr Lim's acquittal was anti-graft agency MACC's statement on Monday that it was shocked by the decision to drop the case, which it said was made by the Attorney-General's (A-G) office, and not the MACC.

Sources told The Straits Times that the decision does not sit well with the commission as its investigators believe there is evidence of Mr Lim abusing his position.

"What is upsetting is, the new government reinstated a person of integrity like Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull back in MACC, only to have the charges in a high-profile case like this thrown out.

"If there was insufficient evidence, the A-G would not have initiated prosecution and charged them in the first place. This doesn't only reflect on the judicial system, but also on the MACC," a source said.

Mr Shukri's return to the agency this year was lauded because he was made to leave in 2016 by the former Barisan Nasional administration after probing financial mismanagement at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Another source said: "Shukri was so upset and angry when he found out (about the decision) that he went to the AGC's (Attorney-General's Chambers) office to seek clarification. There, he made it clear that he would not hesitate to 'open a file' on anyone who is a 'puppet' controlled by hidden hands."

Mr Lim's acquittal comes after his lawyers filed representations to the AGC for the case to be dropped after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government took power in May, arguing that the charges against Mr Lim were politically motivated.

Mr Lim was charged with corruption in 2016, when PH formed the opposition. He is secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party, one of the four member parties of PH.

Ms Phang, who sold the bungalow to Mr Lim, was also acquitted of the corruption charge against her.

Opposition politicians and civil society groups have questioned this "selective non-prosecution", and asked the AGC to give reasons for its decision.

Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki described the decision as a "black mark in the history of New Malaysia". "The move to drop Guan Eng's case without a solid explanation and clear justification by the AGC only highlights that justice is not being served," he said.

MP Tian Chua, who is a vice-president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, which is part of PH, yesterday urged the AGC to explain the basis for the acquittal to uphold the promise of transparency given by the PH government.

Some lawyer groups have also called for Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, recently appointed by the PH administration, to resign for not upholding the rule of law.

However, Mr Mohamad Hanafiah said that Mr Thomas had no hand in the decision to withdraw the case, after he recused himself from the matter last month.

He also stressed that the decision to initiate or discontinue any prosecution is a matter within the prerogative and powers of the public prosecutor, and that his decision was arrived at without any influence from any quarters.

How the case unfolded


The controversy over the bungalow purchase made by then Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng began after an Umno Member of Parliament alleged in March 2016 that Mr Lim had bought the RM2.8 million (S$931,000) home for much lower than its actual value.

The allegations by Datuk Shabudin Yahaya about the two-storey bungalow in Jalan Pinhorn, which Mr Lim had purchased from businesswoman Phang Li Koon in 2015, set off a chain of events which led to Mr Lim being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).


MACC officials arrested Mr Lim and Ms Phang on June 29, 2016. Both were charged at the Penang Sessions Court a day later.

Mr Lim, 58, was charged with abusing his position to approve a re-zoning application by a company called Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land in Balik Pulau into a residential zone - a move that would have raised the land's value dramatically.

He was alleged to have committed the offence while chairing a Penang state planning committee meeting on July 18, 2014. According to local media reports, Ms Phang had been a director of Magnificent Emblem at the time.

Mr Lim also faced a second charge of using his position to obtain a plot of land and the Jalan Pinhorn bungalow in July 2015 from Ms Phang for RM2.8 million.

The court documents stated that the actual market value of the bungalow was RM4.27 million.

Mr Lim would have faced up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

Ms Phang was charged with abetting Mr Lim to obtain the bungalow at an undervalued price. She would have faced up to two years in jail if convicted.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr Lim, who was released on bail, was adamant from the start that he was innocent, saying that he would not "submit to such dirty and vicious political plays to destroy my reputation".


The trial, which began on March 26 this year, saw 25 witnesses being called in. It was postponed briefly to allow Mr Lim to campaign in Malaysia's May 9 General Election.

After Mr Lim's Pakatan Harapan alliance was elected to power in May, his lawyers filed representations to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) for the charges to be dropped, saying they were politically motivated.

The High Court gave the prosecution until Sept 3 to decide whether to proceed with the corruption charges.


On Sept 3, the AGC withdrew all the charges.

Although the prosecution had requested a dismissal not amounting to an acquittal, High Court judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail acquitted both the accused.

She said the charges could not "be hanging over the heads of the accused indefinitely". - Straits Times, 5/9/2018

Penang High Court acquits Guan Eng, Phang of corruption

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here on Monday granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal on former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon over their corruption charges, two years ago.

This followed an application made by Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Masri Mohd Daud to the court, based on a representation sent by the defence to the Attorney-General to withdraw the case, on July 6.

Masri had applied for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

Lim’s lead counsel, Ramkarpal Singh, and Phang’s lead counsel, Datuk V. Sithambaram, had requested for a full acquittal.

Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail, in her judgment, agreed with the counsels that the charges “cannot be hanging over the head of the accused indefinitely.”

She stressed that there must be “finality.”

She said a total of 25 witnesses had been called and the case was last heard in March.

“The court cannot be slow. After six months, the prosecution has not proceeded with the matter. We do not conduct cases on installment. There must be a stop. No commas.

“The charge cannot be left hanging over the head of the accused indefinitely. We cannot be waiting for another six months for the case to proceed.

“I cannot agree with the prosecution’s application because by doing so the court cannot close the case file. That cannot be the case. If we want to proceed, then we should proceed from A to Z.

“So after studying the whole case, and the long duration to get the decision, the court orders both accused to be discharged amounting to an acquittal,” she said.

Earlier, Masri told the court that they had studied the defence’s representation and the prosecution decided to withdraw the case under provisions of Section 254(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“This withdrawal is however a discharge not amounting to an acquittal,” he said.

Ramkarpal then argued that the prosecution’s application meant that there would not be a “full stop” to the case, but merely a postponement.

“We can understand that if they can’t get witnesses. However, the prosecution has indicated that they do not wish to proceed with the case at all.

“So, the proper order should be a full acquittal,” he said.

Sithambaram said if the court acceded to the prosecution, then this would mean that the charges had been withdrawn, but three or six months later, they could continue with it.

“This will be a nightmare for the accused. There has to be a finality.

“The justice of this matter is not about the personality involved but the 25 witnesses who were called to testify and cross-examined,” he added.

As soon as the court stood down, 58-year-old Lim, who is currently the Finance Minister, was seen hugging Phang, 46.

He was then congratulated and embraced by his supporters, including DAP state executive councillor, members of parliament and assemblymen who were present.

Also seen in court were Phang’s family members.

Speaking outside the court, Ramkarpal said the court’s order meant that there could not be any further prosecution on the accused.

“We are glad that our representation has been accepted. The fact that it took a long time meant that it had been studied thoroughly.

“We are very satisfied with the decision,” he noted.

Sithambaram said he was grateful that their representations were accepted.

“The learned judge made the right decision in acquitting the accused. This means they can now carry on with their lives,” he added.

The long-awaited trial began on March 26 this year, and was subsequently postponed pending the 14th general election.

It was further postponed when the accused made separate representations for their charges to be dropped.

On June 30, 2016, Lim claimed trial to using his position as a public officer, namely, the then chief minister of Penang, to gain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng.

He was accused of doing so by approving the application for conversion of agriculture land to a public housing zone in the southwest district to a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.

He was charged with committing the offence while chairing the State Planning Committee meeting at the operations room, Level 28, Komtar building here, on July 18, 2014.

The charge under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 provides an imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

In the second charge, Lim also claimed trial to using his position to obtain for himself a plot of land and a house, located at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, from Phang for RM2.8 million, a price which he allegedly knew did not commensurate with the property’s then market value of RM4.27 million.

The offence was allegedly committed at No 25 Jalan Pinhorn, George Town here on Oct 21, 2015.

The charge was under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which provides an imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine, or both.

Phang was charged with abetting Lim in obtaining the bungalow at an undervalued cost at the same place and date.

She was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 165 of the same law, which provides an imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction. New Straits Times, 3/9/2018

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