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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.

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One Response to “Malaysian Bar: Premature to decide if Guan Eng should quit”

  1. on 16 Jul 2016 at 16: 19.35 charles wong

    This political animal Umno made Malays has only two reasons to start a new political party :

    1.The first one is to divert the people’s attention from focussing on locating the ill gotten gains he amassed during his tenure as the PM.

    2. Is to get his jobless and party less son of his a political position, especially now that he is aware that he and the former DPM will not get any support if and when they are to form a new political party.

    The repugnant Mahathir is coming up with all sorts of gimmicks and at almost daily but none of his initiatives have thus far been successful. He is not interested in them himself he just wants to distract and divert the people’s attention from anything else. Most important of all he is aware that anyone who he is seen to be supporting will at the end get to no where. And that will be the least of his worry, only the rabid LKS will think he is getting his support. What did he get when he joined up with PAS some years ago. He is trying now trying to team up with PAS again !