Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 4 Sep 2018

Civil society demands that the Attorney General’s Chamber provides a cogent explanation for its decision to drop the corruption charges against Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng. The Malaysian people had voted for a new PH government hoping for the reinstatement of a truly independent judicial system, not one that is skewed to protect the government in power.

The PH government must be seen to be more principled than the previous BN government, which let at least three of their Menteris Besar – Harun Idrus, Taib Mahmud and Khir Toyo – see their day in court when they were charged with corruption. Lim’s case is not dissimilar to that of former Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamad Khir Toyo who was charged for his purchase of two plots of land and a bungalow in Shah Alam from a company. Lim was charged in 2016 along with businesswoman Phang Li Khoon for abusing his position as the Penang chief minister in approving a land deal as well as for purchasing a bungalow at below market price. Lim was also accused of abusing his power where he approved the rezoning application of two pieces of land from agricultural to public housing by MESB, in which Phang is a director.

The people expect zero tolerance of corruption

The people expect more from a PH government given its five-point anti-corruption manifesto, 31 Oct 2017, in which Pakatan Harapan vowed to make Malaysia among the 10 “cleanest” countries in the world by the year 2030.  In the manifesto read out by Pakatan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Parliament, the PH alliance announced measures they would take to curb corruption should they take over the government. 

Well, this decision by the AG’s Chamber to drop the corruption charges against Lim Guan Eng instead of letting him prove his innocence in court goes smack up against PH’s anti-corruption manifesto and lags behind BN’s past record on similar corruption charges against their Menteris Besar.

Faced with an ethical dilemma, since he was LGE’s counsel before the elections and unable to recuse himself from the case, the Attorney General should have picked the only ethical and honourable option, which was to let the court decide. After all, as the AG, he must have some faith in the Judiciary in this country and surely, the PH government must do better not worse than the old BN regime?

As it is, the AG’s credibility has slumped to dismal depths and the people’s faith in our justice system has been rudely shaken. The citizens of this country want to see justice done and to ensure that there is not one set of rules for the poor and another for the rich and powerful, whether the sum involved in the corruption is 2.6 billion or 2.6 million ringgit.

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