Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to be charged with corruption over house purchase

Update: Malaysia media reported that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was charged formally this morning (June 30).

GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is set to be charged with corruption in the Sessions Court here today over the purchase of his RM2.8mil property in Pinhorn Road.

State exco member Chow Kon Yeow said the warrant of arrest served on Lim showed two charges - one each under Section 23 of the Anti-Corruption Act and Section 165 of the Penal Code.

"The first (Section 23) refers to the rezoning approval of the Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd application to convert an agricultural land for residential purposes. As we know, MBPP (Penang Island City Council) has rejected the application.

"The second (Section 165) relates to the purchase of a bungalow below market value. At the moment, no charges refer to the Taman Manggis case," he told newsmen at Lim's office at Komtar yesterday.

According to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) website, Section 23 of the MACC Act stipulates an offence of using office or position for gratification, while Section 165 of the Penal Code deals with a public servant obtaining any valuable thing without consideration from the person concerned in any proceeding or business transacted by such a public servant.

Phang Li Koon, the president of Magnificent Emblem and former owner of Lim's bungalow, was also detained at her office in Penang Garden at 4.15pm yesterday, accor­ding to a statement issued by MACC on the same day.

It is learnt that Phang will be charged with either perjury, making a false statutory declaration or graft.

Related: Ruckus in Parliament over chief minister's house purchase

MACC said the arrests were made following a directive obtained from the Attorney-General's Chambers to charge them in court today.

Chow, who is also state DAP chairman, said Lim did not leave instructions before his arrest.

"He didn't really ... just continue..." he said, making a gesture meaning to continue fighting.

He said the party would schedule an emergency meeting today after Lim is charged, as they believe he will be granted bail.

According to a posting on Lim's official Facebook page, the Chief Minister said "See you tomorrow" to the exco members, state officers and his office staff members as he was taken away by MACC officers.

Media and pressmen had staked out the Chief Minister's office on Level 28 of Komtar from 3pm yesterday after being tipped off that he would receive a summons to appear in court over the purchase of the bungalow from Phang.

Lim was chairing a state executive council meeting in Bilik Gerakan at the time.

At 4.55pm, a team of plainclothes MACC officers entered the room and locked the door.

At 5.40pm, Lim's counsel R.S.N. Rayer arrived accompanied by Kebun Bunga assemblyman Cheah Kah Peng and Bagan Dalam assemblyman A. Thanasekaran. Lim's sister Lim Hui Ying arrived about three minutes later.

The Chief Minister was taken in a car to the MACC building in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah at about 6.30pm accompanied by Rayer.

The gate to the building was shut when Lim's political assistant Wong Hon Wai tried to deliver food.

An MACC officer came to the gate to inform Wong that MACC would prepare dinner for Lim.

"We are in the dark. I believe the MACC has some 'formal process' going on in there. We will have to wait and see," Wong said.

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