PUTRAJAYA: An appeal by an online business trader for a review of former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon’s acquittal on corruption charges was adjourned as lawyer Ramkarpal Singh has an appointment with the king.
Lawyer Harshaan Zamani told a three-member Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Rhodzariah Bujang, that Ramkarpal, who is also MP for Bukit Gelugor, is required to perform his constitutional duty.
“As your Lordships are aware, there is an on-going political crisis and Ramkarpal has an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he said.
The other two judges are Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah and Abu Bakar Jais.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar did not object to the postponement. The bench then fixed the appeal to be heard on May 14.
Since yesterday, the king has been having one-to-one interviews with all 222 MPs to determine who in his judgment commands the majority to be appointed prime minister following the resignation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister on Monday.
Later, Harshaan told reporters that Lim, who is also Bagan MP, had earlier been given an exemption to be absent from the proceedings.
Lim, too, is to be interviewed by the king today.
Ramkarpal is representing Lim while A Rueben Kumar is appearing for Phang.
Harshaan also mentioned the case today for lawyer J Gunamalar, who is representing Muhsin Abdul Latheef.
On Oct 12, 2018, the High Court in Penang ruled that Muhsin had no locus standi to apply for a review of the acquittal.
Judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail said Muhsin, also known as Mamu Parpu, had no right to ask for the acquittal to be reviewed, set aside or amend the discharge not amounting to an acquittal as he was not part of the proceedings.
The judge said she had decided to acquit Lim and Phang after listening to all sides. This means the prosecution cannot reinstate the same charges against them.
Muhsin filed the revision on Sept 19, (2018) asking Hadhariah to review her Sept 3 ruling to free the two from the charges filed in 2016.
He was the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s first prosecution witness in the graft trial.
Lim was charged with abusing his position as chief minister by approving a land deal as well as purchasing a bungalow at below market price from Phang.
He was also accused of failing to declare his relationship and interest in the state planning committee meeting where he approved the rezoning application of two pieces of land from agricultural to public housing by MESB, where Phang is a director.
Phang was charged with abetting Lim in his purchase of the house on Pinhorn Road from her for RM2.8 million.