30 June 2016
In a shocking announcement Malaysian anti-corruption commission yesterday said that it had arrested Lim Guan Eng graft charges. Lim is the chief minister of Penang state and also the secretary general of the Democratic Action Party. He is a prominent figure in the Malaysian opposition. His party is the most popular ethnic Chinese party in Malaysia. Lim is the son of veteran politician Lim Kit Siang. Lim Kit Siang, DAP parliamentary leader, announced in a tweet: “Guan Eng arrested by MACC on two charges of corruption and will be produced in court tomorrow morning.”
It is alleged that Mr. Lim bought a two-storey bungalow for Ringgit Malaysia 2.8 million whereas its current market value is RM3.8 million. He bought this property from Ms Phang Li Koon who is a director of Magnificent Emblem. This company owns an agricultural land applied for government approval for the conversion of this land for residential use. According to state exco member Chow Kon Yeow this application was rejected by the Penang Island City Council.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, PM Najib’s close ally, confirmed yesterday that he will lead the prosecution team in Lim Guan Eng ’s case.
Mr Shabudin Yahaya, a Member of Parliament for the ruling UMNO party, raised this issue in the Malaysian Parliament in March. He asked if the purchase of the bungalow by Lim Guan Eng, was linked to the Penang state government’s decision to sell a plot of land to a private company called Kuala Lumpur International Dental Centre.
Ms Phang Li Koon was also arrested yesterday. Mr Lim has denied the charges. He even invited Malaysian media to tour the property in March as a show of transparency. He was jailed in 1998 for 12 months on sedition charges.
The arrest comes after rebound of political grip of Prime Minister Najib Razak. It was widely speculated that this move will enable him to further tighten his grip on Malaysian politics in the forthcoming election 2018.In the last 10 days Prime Minister Najib Razak struck hard at his detractors by sacking deputy president of the ruling party, Muhyddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir from the party. These two politicians along with former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed (father of Mukhriz Mahathir) were seeking the ouster of PM Najib for his involvement in 1MDB corruption scandal.
In the wake of these political turmoil, last week the chief of the Malaysian ant-corruption commission chief announced that he would go on early retirement. He led the corruption probe on 1MDB. Earlier he appointed his close ally, Mr Mohamed Apandi Ali as Attorney General. In an unusual route, Mohamed Apandi Ali, went from Federal Court judge to Attorney-General amid an ongoing investigation on 1MDB headed by his predecessor, Abdul Gani Patail. Since then the Attorney General has cleared PM Najib of any wrongdoing. Apandi had been an active Umno member and had previously held the Kelantan Umno treasurer post before taking office.
1 July 2016
When Lim Guan Eng was produced at the High Court, Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azmin Ariffin read the charges again to Lim and Phang, with both pleading not guilty.
Days before the 13th general election, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the federal government would build 9,999 units of low-cost and low-medium housing in Air Itam. It is expected that the 3,000 families that would be evicted from the land will be compensatred with newly built homes.