July 12th, 2016 by Seputeh Office
KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — It is currently premature to decide if Lim Guan Eng should resign as Penang chief minister because the evidence for his corruption charges is uncertain, the Malaysian Bar said today.
Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said the risk of Lim’s interference with the trial would depend on the evidence produced by the prosecution, pointing out that if the prosecution intended to rely on formal documents like the minutes of state committee meetings that would only require identification by witnesses to confirm authenticity, then the risk of interference could be disregarded.
“However, the risk cannot be ignored if there is a need for oral witness evidence — independently or in addition to the evidence contained in the formal documents — and the relevant witnesses are his subordinates,” Steven said in a statement.
“On the face of the charges, the evidence is uncertain and it would be premature at this stage to decisively conclude whether YAB Lim Guan Eng should still remain in office,” he added.
The head of the peninsular legal body also criticised the overnight detention of Lim by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), pointing out that the DAP secretary-general had been cooperating in its investigations.
“Enforcement agencies should never resort to the power to arrest and detain, to intimidate, harass or victimise an accused person. This would be plainly a blatant misuse of power by any enforcement agency,” said Steven.
He also slammed the RM1 million-bail set for Lim, noting that there was nothing to suggest that Lim posed a flight risk.
“Excessive bail would be perceived as punishing or penalising an accused person prior to the trial, and would be manifestly unfair to the accused person,” said Steven.
He stressed that the accused must be presumed innocent till proven guilty.
Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have been calling for Lim to resign or to take a leave of absence, but the DAP, Penang state government and Pakatan Harapan have maintained that he could stay in office as they considered the corruption charges to be politically motivated.
Lim was charged with abuse of power and corruption at the Penang High Court last month over the alleged approval of a rezoning application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential and over his purchase of his RM2.8 million house from businesswoman Phang Li Koon at below market value of RM4.27 million.
He is facing a jail term of not more than 20 years and a fine of five times the value of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if convicted for the first charge and up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine and forfeiture of property upon conviction for the second charge.
– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malaysian-bar-prema ture-to-decide-if-guan-eng-should-quit#sthash.OK0vhenf.dpuf
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