Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew have been slapped with four corruption charges in relation to two local companies today, 11 August
According to New Straits Times, Lim, who was the state's chief minister from 2008 to 2018, was charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act for using his position to receive gratification.
He allegedly received RM372,009 in bribes from businessperson Phang Li Koon to ensure Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd was awarded a government project to build a workers' dormitory in Juru and Batu Kawan at the chief minister's office in Komtar, Penang.
The offence is said to be committed between August 2013 and March 2016 and the project reportedly worth RM11.61 million in total. The gratification was allegedly paid to Chew.
Meanwhile, Chew is facing three charges for money laundering
The former Penang chief minister's wife had, from 2013 to 2016, allegedly received RM87,009, RM180,000, and RM105,000 from a company called Excel Property Management and Consultancy.
She faces one count of money laundering under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA) and another two counts under Section 4(1)(b) of the same act.
If convicted, she could face imprisonment of up to 15 years and fined five times the value of gratification or RM5 million - whichever is higher - for each charge.
Malaysiakini reported that Chew is a lawyer and a seasoned politician. From 1999 to 2013, she had served as Durian Daun assemblyperson for one term and eventually two terms in Kota Laksamana. She was also the head of DAP's women wing in Melaka.
As for Phang, she is charged under Section 28 (1)(c) of the MACC Act, which is read together with section 23(1) of the same act
Her alleged offence is in relation to abetting Lim Guan Eng as then chief minister and Penang Development Corporation chairman to receive RM372,009 for Chew in the workers' dormitory project.
Phang is the same person who was embroiled in the bungalow scandal with Lim in 2015, but the case was dropped by the High Court in 2018 when the Pakatan Harapan coalition was in power.
All three of them - Lim, Chew, and Phang - pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed trial
Today's hearing was presided by Judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid.
The prosecutor team consists of Deputy Public Prosecutors Ahmad Akram Gharib, Mohd Mukhzany Fariz Mohd Mokhtar, and Francine Cheryl Rajendram.
Lim and Chew are believed to be represented by DAP members Ramkarpal Singh, Gobind Singh Deo, RSN Rayer, and V Vemal Arasan, while Phang is represented by Datuk V Sithambaram, reported The Star.
Present in the court were not only Lim's family members, namely DAP stalwart and father Lim Kit Siang, mother Neo Yoke Tee, son Marcus Lim, as well as Dewan Negara Senator and sister Lim Hui Ying, but also PKR leaders - former deputy prime minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Gurmeet Kaur, the wife of the late Karpal Singh, was also present in the court to show support to Lim and Chew.