Guan Eng: Azmin lied about me using IRB against MCA-linked firms

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Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng contended that ex-economic affairs minister Azmin Ali had lied about allegations that the former had abused power by using the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to target companies linked to MCA.

In his reply to Azmin’s statement of defence against his defamation suit, the DAP chairperson also labelled it as bare denial regarding the Bersatu leader’s claim that the word ‘l*ngs*’ does not carry defamatory connotation (Azmin denies saying it but adds that if he ever said it, it is not defamatory).

Lim rubbished as lies and false the persecution claim by Azmin allegedly made during the latter’s speech during a 15th general election (GE15) campaign at Lunas, Kedah, on Nov 12 last year.

“The plaintiff strongly denies the entirety of paragraph 33 of the defence (including the part on small-time traders), and puts the defendant to strict proof thereof,” the Bagan MP said.

Bernama

“The hurtful statements painted a negative portrayal of the plaintiff, as someone who abused his power for his own benefit,” the Air Putih assemblyperson said.

The plaintiff claimed that Azmin’s statement was malicious and politically driven because part of the audience that attended the Bersatu leader’s GE15 campaign speech was from the local ethnic Chinese community.

In his statement of defence, the Hulu Kelang assemblyperson had contended that he was ready to prove his claims about Lim in court (defence of justification).

Lim and Azmin were ministers in the cabinet of then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad between 2018 and 2020.

However, following the Sheraton Move that saw a transfer of power from Pakatan Harapan to Perikatan Nasional in early 2020, both politicians had gone down divergent political paths, with Azmin leaving PKR for Bersatu.

Meanwhile, in his reply, Lim labelled as irrelevant Azmin’s attempt to raise the issue of a parliamentary exchange between the plaintiff and MCA president Wee Ka Siong in October 2019.

The exchange was over the then finance minister informing Wee that the then government would channel RM60 million to MCA-owned Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) if MCA was willing to relinquish its ownership of the private higher education institution.

Lim in his reply pointed out that MCA was urged to relinquish its control and influence over TAR UC as it was the government policy for all institutions of higher learning to be free from any political influence.

Lim further noted that Budget 2019 had already seen the federal government allocate RM45.15 million in funding to TAR UC.

Back in April this year before the Sungai Petani High Court, Lim filed the lawsuit to seek Azmin’s apology over the latter’s GE15 campaign speech at Lunas, Kedah, on Nov 12, 2022.

Lim alleged that former Gombak MP remarks implied that the plaintiff as then finance minister had abused power to conduct selective persecution of corporate entities and business enterprises linked to MCA.

DAP and MCA are now part of the ruling unity government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is also PKR president. – Malaysiakini