Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Khoon were both arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday evening, 29 June
DAP leaders, its members and supporters of the Opposition held candlelight vigil yesterday night as a sign of solidarity
About 1,000 people gathered outside the MACC building in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah in Georgetown, Penang, where Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was held pending charges of corruption against him yesterday, 29 June.
The crowd were chanting slogans such as "Bebaskan Guan Eng" (Free Guan Eng) and "Hidup Guan Eng" (Long live Guan Eng) while "Tangkap Najib, tangkap Jho Low" (Arrest Najib, arrest Jho Low), in reference to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his family friend, Penang-born 1MDB-linked businessman Low Taek-Jho.
Opposition leaders have claimed that Lim's arrest and prosecution is a political conspiracy to intimidate the opposition
"The arrest and prosecution of Lim Guan Eng will reinforce the public's view that there exists a systematic and planned effort to intimidate and harass the senior leadership of the opposition ahead of the 14th general election," Federal Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.
"Over the past few months, the chief minister and the Penang state government have demonstrated proof that there was no impropriety in Lim’s purchase of the bungalow as there was no contracts or benefits granted to the seller, whether directly or indirectly," Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said.
"Hence the MACC’s move to prosecute Lim, which coincided with the resignation of the top two MACC officials just days earlier, is clearly designed to destroy him politically."
However, BN leaders said that the public should not speculate and to trust in the courts to make the right judgment
Both Penang MCA deputy chief Tan Teik Cheng and Penang Gerakan acting chairman Oh Tong Keong have urged the public to stay calm and let the courts decide if Lim is innocent or guilty as he is entitled to a fair trial.
"We should stop making public or online remarks on the matter. Let justice take its course," Tan was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
Meanwhile, Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said that the course of justice must be swift following Lim's arrest by MACC yesterday.
"After months of internal investigation and intense public discourse, I am relieved that the MACC has decided to take action against Lim Guan Eng," he said in a statement yesterday.
It was also revealed that Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, who exonerated PM Najib Razak of corruption earlier this year, will lead the charge against Lim and Phang, who will be prosecuted today, 30 June
It was said that Penang DAP will be holding an emergency meeting with Lim
State DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the meeting will be held immediately after Lim, who will appear in court today, was granted bail by the court.
"The DAP state committee will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to decide on how to handle the political crisis," he told reporters when met at the Penang MACC headquarters yesterday.
He said the meeting will only be held in the presence of Lim.
The police had set up road closures leading to the state Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building this morning:
It was reported that thousands of students and workers were late for school and work with the road closures.
The roadblocks were mounted to ensure the smooth process of sending Lim to the court, according to George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid, as reported by The Star Online.
"We are not trying to cause trouble to the people but we have to do that for smooth court proceedings," he was quoted as saying by the local English daily.
Some supporters have alleged that they were not allowed to enter the courtroom this morning, according to media reports
Malaysiakini reported that Seberang Perai municipal councillor Satees Muniandy was seen arguing with a police officer, who was only known as chief inspector Kannan, outside the building.
"Tell us under which law you are preventing us from entering the courthouse," Satees was quoted as saying.
The police officer replied, "We can stop anyone from entering any building."
Both Lim and Phang have been charged in the Penang High Court over the allegedly corrupt house purchase deal they struck last year. They pleaded not guilty.
It was reported that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is charged under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act 2009 for allegedly rezoning a plot of land from agriculture to commercial use.
He will also be charged under Section 165 of the Penal Code for the alleged purchasing of a bungalow unit on Jalan Pinhorn below market value.
If convicted under Section 23, Lim can be jailed for up to 20 years, and face a fine of five times the value of gratification or RM10,000 whichever is higher. Lim could face two years’ imprisonment, a fine, and forfeiture of property upon conviction for the second charge.
Additionally, Phang Li Koon is charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 165.
Judicial Commissioner Azmi Ariffin has set the bail for Lim at RM1 million with one surety
After his plea was recorded, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, who led the prosecution team, proposed the bail sum and asked that Lim is compelled to inform the court before he planned to travel abroad.
During mitigation, Lim’s lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo requested for the accused to be allowed to inform the court and the AG’s Chambers of this travel plans two days before departure.
Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azmi Ariffin granted the request and agreed not to impound Lim’s passport, also setting bail at RM1 million with one surety.
In the case of businesswoman Phang Li Koon, who also claimed trial to her charge, Apandi asked for bail to be set at RM200,00 with one surety and no additional conditions, which the court allowed.