PETALING JAYA: Penang’s chief minister Lim Guan Eng was advised today to take leave of absence from his position, “as a gentleman”, until the end of his trial on two corruption charges.
PAS spiritual adviser Dr Haron Din, in giving this advice, said it was customary in many countries for political leaders and civil servants to step aside when serious issues such as corruption and abuse of power were involved.
Lim was charged with abuse of power and corruption over a land deal and the purchase of his bungalow for RM2.8 million when the market valuation was RM4.7 million. The businesswoman involved in both deals, Phang Li Koon, was charged with abetting Lim.
Opposition politicians and the DAP leadership have said there was no need for Lim to step down.
In an interview published in Mingguan Malaysia today, Haron pointed out that banker Nazir Razak, brother of the prime minister, had voluntarily stepped aside as chairman of CIMB group for 30 days over news reports that he had handled political funds for his brother.
Haron said Nazir had done so even though there had not been any official charge laid against him. An investigation by the bank later concluded that Nazir had not misused his position, nor was there inappropriate use of bank resources.
Among those calling for Lim to step aside was Parti Cinta Malaysia leader Huan Cheng Guan who said former Selangor menteri besars, the late Harun Idris, and Muhammad Taib, had stepped down after criminal charges were brought against them.
Harun was later sentenced to six years’ jail for corruption and abuse of state funds. Muhammad resigned in 1997 after being charged with currency irregularities in Australia. He was found not guilty. A former Selangor mentri besar, Mohamad Khir Toyo, stepped down as state opposition leader when he was charged with corruption in 2010 over the purchase of his bungalow in Shah Alam. He was found guilty and sentenced to jail.