GEORGE TOWN: Anti-graft group Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism’s (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel today said there was nothing personal in her stand that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng should have been cleared of his corruption charges first before taking office.
Cynthia acknowledged that Lim was the right man for the job, but pointed out that good governance principles must be upheld.
“It is nothing personal. In fact, he is the great man for the job. But, we are urging that his corruption charge be cleared first before he takes public office.
“(Prime Minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also said the same thing,” she tweeted this evening, referring to Mahathir previously saying that Lim could only be officially appointed as finance minister if and when he was cleared of his corruption case.
Mahathir had stressed that the rule of law must be followed and the government will have to wait until Lim is cleared of the charges before he can be made minister.
Cynthia’s tweet came in response to criminal lawyer SN Nair’s comments today. Nair had told the anti-graft group to stop singling out Lim for holding public office despite corruption charges hanging over his head.
Nair had said that the hallowed legal principle that one was innocent until proven guilty must be upheld.
“C4 is barking up the wrong tree,” Nair had said.
Cynthia had, in an earlier statement, said the NGO was “troubled” that Lim had been appointed despite Mahathir saying the DAP secretary-general could only take office after he had been cleared of the charges.
Cynthia acknowledged that there was no legal provision to prevent Lim’s appointment pending his corruption case, but noted that there were good governance principles behind Mahathir’s earlier statement.
In 2016, Lim was charged with using his public office to obtain gratification for himself and his wife by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd to convert agricultural land for residential purposes.
Lim was also alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing a bungalow from businesswoman Phang Li Koon at below the market price.