It’s the new Malaysia’s ‘black eye’, says Chandra on Guan Eng acquittal

PETALING JAYA: Prominent social critic Chandra Muzaffar today called the decision to drop charges against Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as a “black eye” for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“When you have a government that came to power on the back of its strong commitment to stamp out corruption, and you get a decision like this, it undermines the whole edifice of ethics and integrity they are trying to construct,” Chandra told FMT today.

“It is obvious a person in power is being protected without considering fairness and justice.”

Chandra said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) must come clean to explain the reasons behind the decision.

“The AGC should publicly disclose reasons why Lim’s case was withdrawn.

“In the new Malaysia, such important decisions like this should be backed up with solid reasoning and those reasons known to all,” he said.

Lim was charged in 2016 with businesswoman Phang Li Khoon for abusing his position as the Penang chief minister in approving a land deal as well as purchasing a bungalow at below market price.

Lim was also accused of abusing his power where he approved the rezoning application of two pieces of land from agricultural to public housing by MESB, where Phang is a director.

Chandra, who has been vocal in criticising both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan, said the decision to drop the case “reeks of double standards”.

He said Lim’s case was similar to that of former Selangor menteri besar Mohamad Khir Toyo who was jailed in 2015 over his purchase of two plots of land and a bungalow in Shah Alam from a company.

Khir had bought the properties for RM3.5 million, while the seller, Ditamas Sdn Bhd – whose director Shamsuddin Hayroni had official dealings with him when he was the menteri besar – paid RM6.5 million for it.

Chandra said the AGC’s decision today has come to question the credibility of those in power.