KUALA LUMPUR – The defence in former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s (picture) corruption case lodged a complaint with the Sessions Court here the strict security protocol at the court which resulted in Lim’s family members not allowed to enter the court room to follow the proceeding.
Counsel Gobind Singh Deo, representing Lim, told Judge Azura Alwi that his client’s wife, Betty Chew, a few lawyers and supporters of the Bagan MP, were barred by the police from entering the courtroom even though they had been present at previous hearings.
“Yang Arif, as can be seen, the public gallery is empty today because the police do not allow anyone, including the accused’s wife (to enter)…So, I request an order from Yang Arif because I have my officers (lawyers), who are outside, to assist me,” he said.
In response to Gobind’s request, Azura said she was also subjected to an order by the court’s security committee to provide the list of names of individuals who wanted to attend the trial proceedings.
“We will allow entry (into the court) according to the list of names and capacity by complying with standard operating procedures that have been set,” she added.
Following which, Gobind Singh said the defence would provide the list of names of individuals attending the proceeding two days before the trial began.
Meanwhile, three prosecution witnesses, namely Lim’s former Senior Private Secretary Datuk Ng Wee Kok, as well as M. Maheswari and S. Vijayalakchimi, who are former Secretaries of the Penang State Executive Council (MMKN), were called back to identify about 30 documents on the minutes of meeting by the state executive council regarding the state’s undersea tunnel project.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin also informed the court that 11th prosecution witness, former Penang Legal Adviser Datuk Faiza Zulkifli, was supposed to be called for cross-examination today, but it had to be cancelled at the last minute because the witness was in quarantine for COVID-19.
Lim is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang Chief Minister to receive RM3.3 million bribes to help Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd, a company belonging to Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, to obtain the undersea tunnel project, valued at RM6,341,383,702, at the Penang Chief Minister’s Office, 28th Floor, Komtar, George Town, between January 2011 to August 2017.
On the second amended charge, Lim was accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 10 per cent of the profits of the company from Zarul Ahmad as gratification for getting the project.
The offence was allegedly committed near The Garden Hotels, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, here in March 2011.
Lim, who is also former DAP secretary-general, is also faced with two charges of causing two plots of land, worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government to be disposed of to two companies, which are linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.
The offence was allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Komtar, on Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017.
The hearing before Azura continues on May 26.