Friday, July 01, 2016

Is the charging of Guan Eng a indication that in Malaysia even PMs and Chief Ministers are not above the law?

Positive sign when Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang, is taken to court and charged for corruption...

Well, in Malaysia sadly, we have not seen this often, whereby a Prime Minister, Minister or some politician is taken to court and charged for an alleged wrongdoing like corruption or abuse of power...and, hopefully this will be the start of a new positive trend when public servants in enforcement agencies and those with prosecutorial powers will act bravely and investigate and/or prosecute even those in power without fear or favour...

Is Lim Guan Eng guilty? Well, that is another matter - that will be for the court to decide. Some are angry because their party leader or one of the Opposition leader is being taken to court and charged... but let us not forget for that is exactly what we want - nobody is above the law, friend or foe, and we need the administration of justice to apply to all equally...

Now, I believe that our judiciary is independent and will be fair - and the decision on this case would be important for all Malaysians...the court will have the opportunity to set the standard as to what is corruption...let the court be only guided by the desire to do justice - and not some other irrelevant factor > like his current position or his political affiliation..

'Double Standards' - well, a lot of people are saying this, and maybe the anti-corruption agencies and the Public Prosecutor may have to seriously reflect on this - is it true? If Najib, our Prime Minister, was in a similar situation - would they have acted in the same way - investigated thoroughly, prosecuted efficiently, etc...

As it is, Malaysia really do not have a good track record at present...we recall the case of
Former land and cooperative development minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam..., and note what the judge said 
Justice Suraya said the failure of the prosecution in not calling six board members who were present in the meeting was detrimental to the case as it had created a big gap over the question of whether the board members were actually cheated by the accused.- Star, 13/8/2009, Kasitah freed of corruption charges
Let us also relook at what the judge was reported saying in the case of Eric Chia..
Akhtar said the most glaring setback was the prosecution’s failure to call two material witnesses, who would have been able to confirm whether payment was needed for the technical assistance agreements (TAA) signed between Perwaja Rolling Mill Development and NKK Corporation. He said former Perwaja company secretary R.R. Durai Rajasingam, who was involved in all Perwaja’s contracts, would have known the actual contents of the TAA. “Yet the prosecution never called him. The question is why? I see nothing to say that he would be a hostile witness or give evidence against them.” The judge also questioned the prosecution’s reluctance to call the five Japanese witnesses,.. - Star, 27/6/2007, Eric Chia acquitted of CBT

Well, I hope that the prosecution will do their work properly and adduce all relevant evidence and call all required witnesses. The prosecution should also bring all evidence that is favourable for the accused to the attention of the court. We want a fair trial...

Well, the Attorney General personally is leading the prosecution team....maybe it demonstrates his commitment against corruption, especially if it involves leaders of Malaysia and its States...Wonder what is happening with the investigation against Najib Tun Razak?

LIM GUAN ENG - should he step down as Chief Minister? Obviously no - because he is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty... and, even if he is found guilty by the first court, he need not resign until all his appeals are heard and disposed of. 

Now, what we all want is a free and fair trial by an independent judge for Lim Guan Eng...Personally, the bail amount, in my opinion, was excessive - but then, normally for corruption cases, it is high. However, It really should have been more reasonable - maybe equivalent to one month's wages in cases of public servants like Guan Eng, who has no other known sources of income. Bail is to ensure attendance in court for your trial and, I do not believe that Guan Eng is a flight risk... The setting of the high bail also affects public perception of the judge...has he already made up his mind or is he still independent and capable to ensure a fair trial... Well, this is just my opinion.

And we want the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and the Public Prosecutor to act in the same way from now on against all in power, be it the Prime Minister, Minister, Menteri Besar or Chief Minister...that is whall all good Malaysians want. No one should be above the law...especially persons given the trust by Malaysians to govern...

See also related post:- 

Tunku Abdul Aziz, MACC advisory board chairperson, should be focussing on corruption not Dr. M?

Charged with two counts of corruption, Lim Guan Eng strikes defiant tone

Charged with two counts of corruption, Lim Guan Eng strikes defiant tone
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, centre, said on June 30, 2016, "BN can victimize me but will not crush my spirit." Photo: Lim Guan Eng's Facebook

Published: 3:13 PM, June 30, 2016
Updated: 11:32 PM, June 30, 2016
PENANG — The Malaysian authorities on Thursday (June 30) charged senior federal opposition leader Lim Guan Eng with two counts of corruption, a move government critics say is part of a crackdown on those opposed to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration.
“I am all right,” a smiling Lim told reporters as he arrived at the court. Lim, who is the secretary-general of opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Chief Minister of Penang, pleaded not guilty to both charges. 

He was granted RM1 million (S$338,100) bail. He is due to return to court on Sept 22 when trial dates are expected to be fixed and faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

“BN (Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition) can prosecute me but it will not kill my passion to free Malaysia from corruption,” he said yesterday in a defiant statement after he was granted bail. “BN can victimise me but will not crush my spirit to free Malaysia from those who steal our children’s future.” 

Leaders from the Pakatan Harapan opposition pact condemned the legal action. DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang (Lim’s father) said it was the latest in concerted efforts “to destroy the opposition and defend Najib’s political position”. 

Mr Azmin Ali, the Chief Minister of the state of Selangor and deputy president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, an opposition party, criticised the swift action in handling Lim’s case amid the “innumerable reports” lodged against Mr Najib. Mr Azmin also called on the opposition to come together and focus on its struggles.

“BN can humiliate me by unnecessarily detaining me overnight but will not succeed in changing white to black and black to white. Right cannot become wrong and wrong cannot become right,” Lim said in the statement.

He was kept overnight at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC’s) Penang headquarters in George Town after the authorities picked him up on Wednesday evening from his office.

“BN will not break my party’s unity ... If BN feels that they can bend or break me by arresting me, they are wrong! I will die standing than live on bended knees,” he added.

The ruling party has called for Lim’s resignation as Penang’s Chief Minister, but the DAP’s Penang Chapter said yesterday that Lim will remain in charge pending the outcome of the trial.

Dr Wong Chin Huat, head of political and social analysis at Penang Institute, a public policy think-tank, told TODAY that the high-handed manner Lim’s case was handled had angered many Malaysians.

“The MACC and AGC (Attorney-General’s Office) have little credibility in the public’s eyes, more so after the change in leadership of both recently and last year related to the 1MDB investigation,” he said, referring to state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which was at the centre of a corruption investigation linked to Mr Najib.

Dr Wong said that if Lim was convicted for corruption, this would likely make him a martyr in the eyes of more than half of Malaysians. “If Lim’s charge is followed by more prosecution of more opposition leaders under one law or another, Lim’s martyr image will only loom larger.”

Lim was charged in relation to investigations over his purchase of a house, which was allegedly linked to the sale of state land.

He was charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act and Section 165 of the Penal Code.

Under Section 23, he is accused of using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Ms Betty Chew, by approving Magnificent Emblem’s application to convert agricultural land into a residential one. In return, Lim is alleged to have purchased his house from Phang Li Koon, a director of Magnificent Emblem, for RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million in July last year.

Phang has been charged with abetment under Section 109 of the Penal Code. The charges come as Mr Najib tightens his grip on power despite being battered by the scandals surrounding 1MDB for the past year.
Despite the scandal, Mr Najib has consolidated his power within the United Malays National Organisation, the ruling party that is part of BN.

BN also won against the opposition during the recent Sarawak state elections and twin by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar. The victories took place amid the opposition’s divide over whether the Islamic penal code should be implemented in the state of Kelantan.

Observers have suggested that snap elections are on the cards.

Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute deputy director Dr Ooi Kee Beng told TODAY that even if Lim is not convicted or locked up, the damage done to the opposition will be quite substantial.

“Much of their appeal has depended on the idea of hope, and of something transparent and new. Even by leaving the case undecided, much uncertainty can be sowed in the opposition camp,” he noted. 

“One has to speculate if all these moves are just to silence critics or if there is a greater purpose. That would of course be snap general elections, perhaps already this year.” AGENCIES - Today Online, 1/7/2016




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