By Lim Guan Eng
When BN and BN Ministers launched their big “expose” of my so-called corruption scandal of buying my bungalow lot cheaply, they linked it to the sale of over 1 acre of government land in Taman Manggis for a hospital project they claimed is meant for the poor. Even though the Penang state government repeatedly explained that it was the previous BN state government that had wanted to develop Taman Manggis land commercially and that it had nothing to do with the purchase of my bungalow because the Taman Manggis land was sold off to the highest bidder by open competitive tender, BN continued their political conspiracy and attack.
The two charges of corrupt practice against me has finally exposed the political conspiracy of BN and its leaders, especially Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, as not only a coward and liar but also a dishonest hypocrite. There are no corruption charges against me relating to Taman Manggis. Despite all the hype and even threats for a public debate that Abdul Rahman then chickened out, nothing came out of the Taman Manggis land investigations proving the lies of BN.
Instead I am charged for a non-existent corruption offence unrelated completely to the sale of Taman Manggis land to KLIDC. I face the full might and entire machinery of the BN Federal Government who wants to put me in jail for 20 years for a non-existent corruption offence of approving the rezoning of a piece of land in Balik Pulau from agriculture to housing that is still agriculture because Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) finally rejected the rezoning to housing and the land remains zoned as agricultural.
What then is the benefit or corruption to the landowner, Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd (MESB), when there is no benefit accrued as the land remained zoned as agricultural? When MBPP rejected their planning approval on 1.12.2015, MESB was not allowed to pay their rezoning fees for it to be rezoned to housing. The State Planning Committee (SPC) headed by me did not intervene to direct MBPP that the land be rezoned to housing.
Where then is the illegal benefit or corrupt offence? And yet I face 20 years in jail when there is no benefit to MESB. Contrast this with the RM 50 billion debts from the 1MDB scandal or the RM4 billion donation scandal where there is not only a clear dishonest benefit but public funds have been used and yet not a single person is punished or charged for corruption!
Penangites Know What Is At Stake
The purchase of my bungalow was through a bank loan and my own allowances as Chief Minister. Unlike the corruption case involving former Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo whose seller lost RM5 million, my seller made a small profit of RM300,000. In Khir Toyo’s case, the seller is a housing developer who had an active business relationship with the Selangor state government whilst my seller is not a housing developer and did not have an active business relationship with the Penang state government.
Unlike Khir Toyo’s case, there was no coercion or special favour granted to the seller of my bungalow. Further Khir Toyo was not detained overnight but I was detained overnight in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. There is no reason for me not to appear in court and prove my innocence as BN would definitely prefer me to escape and run away. Unlike Khir Toyo who has no personal relationship with the seller, my seller is my wife’s friend.
I want to thank my party and Pakatan colleagues for their support of me and my family during these challenging times. I also want to thank the public who came out on their own to show support and am touched by the many ordinary Malays and Indians who cried and hugged me. These ordinary Malays, Chinese and Indians know what is at stake in BN filing corruption charges against me.
The ordinary Penangites have benefited from the cash contributions under the Penang state government’s i-sejahtera program which has given out RM100 yearly to senior citizens, single mothers, the disabled and housewives. The Penang State Government gave trawl to fishermen twice a year. Under the same program, we have given out RM 600 yearly to taxi drivers, RM100 monthly to registered trishaw riders, RM 100 to students of Standard 1 and Standard 4 in primary school, Form 1 and Form 4 in secondary school and a one-off payment of RM1000 to first year students at local universities, one-off payment of RM1000 to beneficiaries of senior citizens, as well as a one-off payment of RM200 to all new born babies in the state. More than RM400 million has been given out since 2008 or 12 per cent of our annual budget. This RM400 million contributions benefit them from the annual surpluses recorded because we run a clean government.
Ordinary Penangites have never got such contributions from the previous BN state government. Without a clean government, nearly 200,000 Penangites would not have benefited. These ordinary Penangites are angry that the leader of a clean government is now charged for corruption and that the RM400 million contributions under the i-sejahtera program are under threat. Let me assure Penangites that the Pakatan government and its leaders are clean. These allegations are evil lies and a political conspiracy to destroy me. We will stand together and not give up on pursuing our dream of a new model of governance for a Malaysia (without GST and unfair tolls) that is clean, people-centric based on open tenders and not cronies.
Lim Guan Eng is Chief Minister of Penang.
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