PETALING JAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan has hit back at Lim Guan Eng after the DAP secretary-general called him “chicken” for withdrawing from a proposed debate last year.
Lim had been commenting on the debate between federal minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying that it should be allowed to continue.
He also said Nazri was brave, unlike Rahman, praising the tourism and culture minister for being a “warrior in the Cabinet”.
“After all, not every minister is chicken like Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who challenged me for a debate and then chickened out,” the Penang chief minister said in a press conference at his office in Komtar, in George Town, today.
Lim was referring to Rahman’s withdrawal from a public debate on alleged irregularities surrounding a property in Taman Manggis, George Town.
Rahman, who was then the urban wellbeing, housing and local government minister, had challenged Lim to the debate on Mar 6 last year, saying Lim owed it to the people.
However, he withdrew from the debate on Apr 16, just three days before the scheduled date for the debate, saying it was based on advice from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police.
Today, Rahman took to Twitter to express his displeasure with Lim’s criticism of him.
Using his Twitter handle @mpkotabelud, the minister said the debate between Nazri and Mahathir was different as they were not under investigation over their debate topics.
“LGE forgot I had faced off with Tony Pua, Rafizi, Sivarasa, Mujaheed, Yusmadi, Tian Chua many times publicly & I debated oppo in parlimen!
“Unlike LGE, Nazri & Dr M not under investigations over their debate topics. I can’t believe LGE doesn’t understand this crucial difference,” Rahman tweeted.
“Our planned debate stopped on advice of PDRM. Events showed this was right decision. Shortly later, Lim charged w 2 counts of corruption!”
Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon were charged last June with graft over the purchase of his house on July 28, 2015. He was alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing the house from Phang at RM2.8 million. This was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million.
Lim was also charged with using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd to convert agricultural land for residential purpose during a state exco meeting on July 18, 2014.
“Strange tht LGE continues to delay his trial with various challenges. Thought he would welcome clearing his name ASAP instead of delay tactics,” the Kota Belud MP said.
He also criticised Lim’s claim that the MACC Act was unconstitutional, adding that it had been used for many years.
“Now LGE claims MACC Act is unconstitutional – although used for many yrs. Dozens of others incl ex-Selangor MB convicted under same charge.”