Lim denies provoking Teng to utter alleged defamatory words

Lim Guan Eng (left) and his lawyers K Simon Murali and Kok Yuen Lin outside the High Court in George Town, Penang, today.

GEORGE TOWN: Lim Guan Eng today denied a suggestion that he might have “provoked” former state Barisan Nasional chief Teng Chang Yeow into uttering remarks deemed defamatory so that he could sue him.

The remark was in relation to the undersea tunnel and roads project.

During examination-in-chief of his defamation suit against Teng in the High Court here, the former chief minister admitted having written a “barrage” of press statements at the height of the debate on the project in January last year.

He said he did so merely to defend himself and the state.

Lim also admitted attacking media outlets aligned with BN but denied conducting a “day to day” campaign against the coalition.

Teng’s lawyer, Kek Boon Wei, grilled Lim over his witness statement for nearly five hours.

At 5pm, Justice Rosilah Yop asked Kek if he could wrap up his examination of Lim by 6pm, to which the lawyer said he would need another “whole day”.

Lim’s counsel, K Simon Murali, said his client would be unable to spare another day as he had to be in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur.

In chambers, Rosilah agreed to adjourn the case to May 6 and 7. Teng is expected to be examined by Lim’s lawyers then.

Lim had sued Teng on March 13 last year over Teng’s statements concerning payments made to the company that had won the bid to build the undersea tunnel and three main roads project.

Teng, through three articles published in New Straits Times and Berita Harian on Jan 17 and Jan 19 last year, implied that Lim had lied about “not paying a single sen” to the contractors. In reality, Teng claimed, payments had been made.

The payment in question was a RM11.2 million fee paid by the Penang government to engineering firm HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd as independent checking engineers (ICE) for the project.

The three main roads in the project are from Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (5.7km), Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang (10.53km) and the Jalan Pangkor-Gurney Drive junction to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (4.1km).

Work on the Air Itam to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway is scheduled to begin on Aug 31.

The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect Pangkor Road in George Town and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth. Work is scheduled to begin in 2023.

The cost of the entire project is RM6.3 billion.