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Former Malaysian finance minister Lim Guan Eng pleads not guilty to abusing position for RM3.3 million gratification

Former Malaysian finance minister Lim Guan Eng pleads not guilty to abusing position for RM3.3 million gratification

Lim Guan Eng is the most high-profile figure in Malaysia to face a criminal probe in recent months. (Photo: AFP/Mohd RASFAN)

PENANG: Former Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was charged on Monday (Aug 10) with using his position to receive gratification of more than RM3.3 million to help a company secure the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel project.

Lim, 60, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge, which was read out before judge Ahmad Azhari Abdul Hamid.

He was charged to have abused his position as then-Chief Minister of Penang to obtain RM3.3 million in gratification for himself as an inducement for helping a company owned by Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli secure the project valued at around RM 6.3 million. 

The Bagan Member of Parliament was alleged to have committed the offence at the office of the Penang Chief Minister, Level 28, Komtar, Georgetown in Penang between January 2011 and August 2017.

READ: Malaysia's former finance minister Lim Guan Eng pleads not guilty to bribe charge

The charge was framed under Section 23 (1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act  2009 and punishable under Section 24(1) of the same law, which provides imprisonment of up to 20 years and fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, if found guilty.

Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib, from MACC, is leading the prosecution team, while lawyers Gobind Singh Deo and Ramkarpal Singh represented Lim.

Last Friday, Lim was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with soliciting gratification to help the company to secure the Penang undersea tunnel project, to which he also pleaded not guilty and was allowed bail of RM1 million in two sureties.

The controversial undersea tunnel project, stretching 7.2km, will link Penang island from Persiaran Gurney to the mainland at Bagan Ajam. Work on the project is scheduled to begin in 2023.

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