BN’s Abdul Rahman Dahlan says it was Lim’s own fault that his corruption trial has been scheduled at a time when the GE may be held as well

KUALA LUMPUR: BN strategic communication chief Abdul Rahman Dahlan today urged Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng against creating sympathy by stating that he may not be able to contest in the 14th general election due to his corruption trial.

The trial is scheduled to be held from March 26 to May 25, a period when the next general election could be held as well.

“The trial dates are only being scheduled now after such a long delay because of Guan Eng’s attempt to challenge the MACC Act as unconstitutional – a case that went through the High Court, Court of Appeals and all the way up to the Federal Court,” said Rahman in a statement.

“Whether this was a deliberate attempt to delay his trial, only Lim knows.

“Therefore, Lim only has himself to blame if his court dates are scheduled as they are now,” said Rahman, who is also a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Yesterday Lim told the press that he may not contest in the 14th general election as the polls may be called during the election period.

Lim was charged with using his position as chief minister to gain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng, by approving the application for conversion of agriculture land to a public housing zone in southwest Penang to a company, Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd.

He allegedly committed the offence while chairing the Penang State Planning Committee meeting at the operations room, Level 28, Komtar building in Penang, on July 18, 2014.

The charge under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

Lim faces a second charge of allegedly using his position to obtain for himself a plot of land and a bungalow located at No, 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town on July 28, 2015 from businesswoman Phang Li Koon for RM2.8mil, below market value.

The charge under Section 165 of the Penal Code provides for a jail term of up to two years or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Rahman added that Lim, who is also DAP secretary general, should be confident of the due court process since Lim would be allowed to defend himself in an open and transparent manner.

“The public will also get the chance to look at the evidence against him as this trial will receive public and media attention.”

He also pointed out the case of former Selangor menteri besar Dr Khir Toyo who was charged and subsequently convicted of a similar charge.

“The length of former Selangor menteri besar Dr Khir Toyo for a similar offence which started in 2010 until he was convicted in the year 2015 will provide comfort to Guan Eng that there is little to fear that he is not able to contest in GE14.

“Whether he will win or DAP keeps the Penang state government or not is, of course, entirely a different matter altogether.”