PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional strategic communications (BNSC) director Abdul Rahman Dahlan says Lim Guan Eng has only himself to blame for his corruption trial dates being close to the 14th general election (GE14), which is due by August.
He said the dates had been scheduled only recently after a long delay because of the Penang chief minister’s attempt to challenge the legality of a section in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
He said the case went through the High Court, Court of Appeals and all the way to the Federal Court.
“Whether this was a deliberate attempt to delay his trial, only Guan Eng knows,” said Rahman, who is minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, in a statement today.
He said while Lim had said yesterday that the trial might affect his candidacy in GE14, it was important to note that he was charged with the two counts of corruption more than a year and a half ago, in July 2016.
“Therefore, Guan Eng only has himself to blame if his court dates are scheduled as they are now,” he said.
On Jan 10, the Penang High Court fixed 23 days, from March 26 to 30, April 9 to 12, April 23 to 27, May 7 to 10 and May 21 to 25, to hear the graft case involving Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon.
Lim, who is DAP secretary-general, had recently predicted that GE14 would be held in late April or early May, “before May 16”.
“Guan Eng should have confidence in our courts where he will be allowed to defend himself in an open and transparent manner,” Rahman said.
“The public will also get the chance to look at the evidence against him as this trial will receive public and media attention,” he added.
On June 30, 2016, Lim had claimed trial to 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 purposes, during a state planning committee meeting on July 18, 2014.
Lim had also claimed trial to using his position to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from Phang at RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million, on July 28, 2015.
Phang, who is also Magnificent Emblem president, claimed trial to abetting Lim in his purchase of the house in Pinhorn Road from her for RM2.8 million, which was below the market value or RM4.27 million.