PETALING JAYA: Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng should on principle take leave from his office for the duration of the investigation against him for charges of corruption, says Ideas Chief Executive Officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
Wan Saiful, however, admitted that there were problems with this idea in terms of implementation.
“There will be some complications with that idea. So I feel it would be good if the decision in court is made as quickly as possible.
“However, we also know that the first hearing will only be in September. Is he going to do nothing in the next three months? There are some complications there which we will need to think about.
“If that cannot be decided, then DAP should possibly elect someone else in his place for a set period of time,” Wan Saiful said when contacted by FMT.
Wan Saiful added that he was not sure who is best suited to take on the role of interim Penang chief minister, but added that the person should be the next highest in the party and be one who has the support of the majority in the state assembly.
Earlier Thursday morning, Lim was charged with two counts of corruption at the High Court and claimed trial to both charges.
Lim was charged with using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by a company called Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential status during a state exco meeting on July 18, 2014.
In the second charge, Lim was alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing a bungalow from Phang Li Koon at RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.7 million, on July 28, 2015.
Phang, Lim’s former landlord, was also charged with abetment in the case.
State DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow had in a press conference later said that Lim does not need to take a break and that the state government’s affairs will continue as usual.
Writer and activist Anil Netto said that DAP’s leadership should decide if Lim needs to take a break.
“It’s up to whether DAP’s leadership sees it as mere charges, or something politically motivated. We cannot see this case just on its own, but in its context.”
Netto alleged that the Federal Government had in recent years been targeting Opposition leaders and activists, especially under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
“This has been going on for the past 3-4 years. So it is not clear (whether Lim’s case is politically motivated). Look at the country’s one-sided institutions. We need to look at it in that context as well,” he said when contacted.
Political analyst Wong Chin Huat told FMT that Lim does not need to take leave, given how the police and MACC are not free from the government’s hold.
“How many Opposition leaders have been forced to take leave when they have been forced into court?
“We must take into account the fact that Malaysia is not a democracy with free and unbiased public institutions.”