Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today that his corruption trial, which will start on March 26, may affect his candidacy in the 14th general elections (GE14).
He said he will have to attend the trial in the Penang High Court which will be held on four to five-day stretches between March and May.
When asked if this will affect his candidacy if GE14 were to fall on that period, he replied “perhaps”.
Lim then questioned the reasons behind the amendments to his charges.
“You are charging a chief minister. Why is there a need to amend the charges now?” he asked.
Yesterday, the Penang High Court fixed the trial for both Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon for 23 days, the dates being March 26 to 30, April 9 to 12, April 23 to 27, May 7 to 10 and May 21 to 25 this year.
Gobind Singh Deo, who is representing Lim, and Datuk V Sithambaram, who is representing Phang, agreed to the trial dates.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Masry Mohd Daud presented amended charges for both Lim and Phang with minor changes to the original charges yesterday.
As both Lim and Phang were not in court yesterday, the amended charges will be read to them on March 26.
Masry said only minor amendments were made to the charges that will not affect the nature of the charges against Lim and Phang.
He revealed that the prosecution has 40 witnesses that will be produced at the court.
Lim and Phang were charged with graft over his house purchase deal in 2015.
Lim was charged with using his public office or position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land to residential purpose during a state planning committee meeting 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 is also alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from Phang at RM2.8 million, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million on July 28, 2015.
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.
Phang, meanwhile, was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code for abetting Lim on July 28 last year in regards to his purchase of the house on Pinhorn Road from her for RM2.8 million which was below the market value or RM4.27 million whereby Lim had allegedly committed an offense under Section 165 of the Penal Code.
The charge under Section 109 of the Penal Code read together with Section 165, provides for imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.