Senior lawyer says finance minister’s graft case should have been allowed to go on

A statue of Lady Justice. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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KUCHING, Sept 4: A senior lawyer opines that the corruption case involving Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon should have been allowed to proceed to protect the image of the Attorney-General (AG), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the police and the government.

“The present AG’s action has saved Lim but has caused some dissatisfaction among the people,” said Voon Lee Shan, who is also formerly Batu Lintang assemblyman.

But Voon acknowledged that the AG has the power, exercisable at his discretion, to withdraw any criminal charges against any person under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.

However, such power should only be exercised with good judgement or sense, and this power is not absolute and could be reviewed by the court, he added.

Voon was commenting on the case where Lim and Phang were cleared of corruption charges by the Penang High Court yesterday. The case was brought against Lim by the previous federal government when Lim was still Penang chief minister.

In the first charge, Lim was accused of purchasing a house at below-market value. Phang, on the other hand, was accused of abetting Lim in the purchase of the said house. In the second charge, Lim was accused of abusing his position over re-zoning some public land for development.

Voon pointed out that the AG was not above the law; therefore, he is not to exercise his power with ulterior motives or make an immoral gain out of the exercise of his power.

“In Lim’s case, the former AG had viewed the evidence against him and had formed an opinion that there is sufficient evidence to form a prima facie case against him. For this reason, the matter has to go to trial. Although there could be a prima facie case, Lim can still be acquitted as charged if the prosecution could not prove the charges against him beyond reasonable doubt,” Voon opined.

However, he added that the present AG could have thought otherwise and withdrew the charges against Lim. — DayakDaily