GEORGE TOWN - A video clip showing Sungai Pinang DAP assemblyman Lim Siew Khim's father allegedly soliciting bribes to help obtain low-cost housing units in the state has gone viral after it was posted on social media.
The five-minute and 20-second clip with Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia subtitles is believed to have been posted on a Facebook page on Sunday.
It shows a man on the left - whom Lim later acknowledged to be her father - seated with two other men, one of whom is indicated in the video as "mediator agen rasuah" (bribery agent) while the other is captioned as si mangsa (victim).
Lim's father, indicated in the video as "agen rasuah Uncle Lim", is seen smoking and nodding his head as he sits among the "victims" of the alleged bribery.
As the video progresses, other si mangsa are heard joining in the discussion.
According to the video, those interested to "cut queue" in the affordable government housing scheme must pay RM260 (S$87.40) for a form and some money to an "Uncle Lim", who would then ensure that they get a unit.
Penang Gerakan vice-chairman Oh Tong Keong told a press conference yesterday that after analysing the video, Lim's father had allegedly collected payment for the housing units but failed to deliver them.
In response to the controversy, Lim, 42, stressed that neither she nor her father had the power to influence the decision of the Penang state government in such a matter.
"Gerakan's attack is unfounded and without basis. The state government is committed to its CAT (Competent, Accountable and Transparent) policy and the housing panel will select applicants based on strict and transparent criteria.
"I hereby appeal to people not to believe that they can get what they want by paying some coffee money," she told reporters at her service centre in Jelutong yesterday.
Lim also reminded applicants to always deal with the Housing Department.
"I advise any victim to lodge a police report if there are attempts to solicit money (as an inducement) to help them get government housing.
"I repeat that I have not done anything wrong. I strongly believe that this is all related to the Gerakan leaders' tussle for the Sungai Pinang constituency.
"Oh Tong Keong is trying his best to play up this incident," she added.
Lim also confirmed that the man in the video is indeed her father, 68-year-old retiree Lim Keat Seong.
"All this (in the video) was without my knowledge and I only got to know about it on Sunday night," she said.
Asked if she was on speaking terms with her father, Lim replied: "Yes. He is my father."
Among those present at the press conference were Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim, state executive councillor Chong Eng and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) councillors Chris Lee Chun Kit and Syerleena Abdul Rashid.
Asked if there was a need to lodge a police report as Lim's name is mentioned in the video, Rayer, who is DAP legal adviser, said not at the moment but the parties involved should lodge a police report.
Asked if she had sought clarification from her father, Rayer told pressmen to contact Keat Seong themselves, adding that "he is an adult and there's no way she could control his behaviour".
Lim, who was also accompanied by her mother Bee Ah Moi, 69, later became emotional and said in Mandarin in between sobs: "You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your father."
She was then comforted by Syerleena as MBPP councillor Joseph Ng handed her a tissue.
Bee added in Hokkien: "My char bor kiah (daughter) ... and her lau pek (father) ... like this ... I am put in a spot."
When contacted later about a report on the website of a Chinese daily saying that she wanted to sever ties with her father, Lim denied it.
Lim is a first-term assemblyman and a mother of five.
Commenting on the issue after attending a function in Simpang Ampat, Nibong Tebal, state DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow told reporters he heard that Lim's father had taken some money from several people, but returned it after failing to obtain low-cost houses for them.
Penang government housing applications for low-cost, low-medium-cost and affordable housing units are vetted by an eight-member Selection Process Enhancement Committee. Among the factors considered are income, number of children and number of cars owned.
There are 35,229 people on the waiting list for affordable homes priced below RM400,000 and below RM250,000 for units on the island and mainland respectively.