GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has claimed trial to two graft charges at the High Court here.
Lim, who was immaculately dressed in a white shirt with his signature red tie and black coat, was charged with allegedly using his position as Chief Minister to obtain gratification (suapan).
The charges were read out before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Azmi Ariffin.
Lim and his wife Betty Chew, when chairing the state planning committee meeting on July 18 at Bilik Gerakan in Komtar, had allegedly approved a rezoning application from agricultural to residential to Magnificent Emblem.
The offence under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, carries a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of at least five times the total gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher.
He also claimed trial to the second charge of allegedly obtaining benefit from his position as a public servant and Chief Minister when he purchased his bungalow located at no. 25, Jalan Pinhorn for RM2.8mil from Phang Li Koon, when the actual market value was RM4.27mil.
He was charged with the offence under Section 165 of the Penal Code, which is punishable with a maximum of two years' jail, a fine, or both, upon conviction.
Guan Eng had six counsels representing him, namely Gobind Singh, Ramkarpal Singh, R.S.N Rayer, M. Kulasegaran, P. Subramaniam and M. Manoharan.
Phang, a businesswoman, was slapped with a charge of abetment for allegedly selling the bungalow on Pinhorn Road to Lim on July 28, 2015 at below its actual market value.
She was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 165 of the Penal Code.
The offence carries up to two years' jail, a fine, or both upon conviction.
Phang was represented by Datuk K. Kumaraendran, Dev Kumaraendran Raj Shanker and Chetan Jethawani.
Appearing for the prosecution were Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, DPP Masri Mohd Daud, DPP Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, DPP Budiman Lufti Mohamed, DPP Mohd Ashrof Adrin Kamarul, DPP Mohd Zain Ibrahim and DPP Muhammad Fadzlan Mohd Noor.
Apandi proposed for both Lim and Phang's cases to be jointly heard.
However, K. Kumaraendran requested for time to study the documents first.
Both Guan Eng and Phang pleaded not guilty and claimed trial to their respective charges.
Azmi set bail at RM1mil with one surety for Lim, but did not ask him to surrender passport, However, he has to give the Court and the A-G's Chambers two days' notice if he intends to travel abroad.
Phang's bail was set at RM200,000 with one surety and fixed Sept 22 for case management in chambers.
Both Lim and Phang will be brought before him on the same date.