Penang Chief Minister questions if postponing the demolition of illegal buildings pending amicable solutions is considered graft, while Phee Boon Poh appeared to be in tears when he met family members, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng at court this morning.
Emotions ran high at the Penang High Court this morning when Penang state exco Phee Boon Poh was brought in to submit his application through his lawyers to challenge the remand order against him.
It was his second bid to obtain a revision of his five-day remand granted by the magistrate’s court in Penang two days ago.
The remand order, which ends on Wednesday, was to facilitate the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigations into an illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam, under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 for abuse of power for gratification
Yesterday, Phee’s lawyer made a similar application at the Alor Setar High Court but it was turned down. The judge reportedly said the application should be filed in Penang instead of Kedah.
Phee’s lawyer, Ramkarpal Singh, had said that the court order was “highly irregular”.
Handcuffed and dressed in orange MACC lockup attire, Phee appeared to break down in tears upon seeing his family members as he was brought into the courtroom at 10.50am.
He was seen embracing his family members, including his daughter and sister.
Phee was also seen to be in tears as he hugged DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.
He somberly spoke to his relatives for a few minutes from the dock before conversing with Lim Guan Eng, who was seated in the front row of the packed court gallery.
The courtroom and hallway outside were crowded while waiting for proceedings to begin before High Court Judge Lim Chong Fong.
Earlier, at about 10am, Guan Eng, along with Phee’s lawyers RSN Rayer and Ramkarpal, Lim Kit Siang and a group of supporters, marched to the court together.
The entourage of supporters carried a banner proclaiming solidarity for Phee as they walked from Ramkarpal’s office in Green Hall to the court house a few hundred metres away.
The carbon filter factory’s 70-year-old manager, Gan Buck Hee, and his 37-year-old son, Edmund Gan Eu Leong, the factory’s director, were also brought to court at around 10.55 am.
They had been issued the same five-day remand order.
Their lawyer, Dev Kumaraendran, also filed similar applications yesterday that were rejected by the Alor Setar High Court.
He was also present at the Penang High Court this morning to file a similar application.
Yesterday, the MACC raided Phee’s service centre and houses.
Phee, who is the Sungai Puyu assemblyman, was escorted by MACC officers into a vehicle at about noon to his service centre in Jalan Ong Yi How.
He was then taken to his two houses in Taman Dahlia and Sungai Puyu.
The officers spent about an hour in each of the premises, leaving with bags of documents seized.
Yesterday, the Penang Chief Minister questioned if postponing the demolition of illegal buildings pending an amicable solution was considered graft.
News reports quoted him as saying last night that it was the state government’s policy, after Pakatan Rakyat assumed power in 2008, not to take action against illegal buildings, including places of worship and eateries, constructed before that year until an amicable solution could be found, with no timeframe set.
“If I say you shouldn’t tear down this temple first, while we discuss this, is that corruption? That is what we want to know. If that is the case, then it is not only in Penang. It is everywhere.
“And you go after a state executive council member who is trying to implement the state government’s policy, where we try to find a win-win situation,” NST Online quoted Lim Guan Eng as saying.
The MACC is reportedly investigating Phee for allegedly issuing two letters to the Seberang Prai Municipal Council, instructing it to delay enforcement action against a 15-year-old illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu.
Guan Eng had earlier said that his administration did not believe that Phee had any personal interest in the factory.
“Everyone knows that Phee is a rich man even before he joins the state administration. It was inherited from his family business.
“He is just carrying out his duties as the state executive council member. We believe and trust in him,” Guan Eng said.