GEORGE TOWN: Maintaining his innocence, Lim Guan Eng said he could not be accused of corrupt practices if no one benefited from his action.
He said that although the state Planning Committee, which he chairs, had approved the land conversion application of Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd (MESB) from agricultural to residential, Penang Island City Council did not grant final approval.
“It is agricultural land till today. What benefit is there to MESB when it could not get its rezoning approval?” Lim said to a packed press conference in City Hall yesterday.
On the charge that he had knowingly bought his Pinhorn Road bungalow at a price below market value, he said the seller Phang Li Koon had not made a loss but recorded a small profit of RM300,000.
Looking paler than usual, Lim, addressed the press yesterday at 1.20pm for the first time since his arrest.
“I did not see this (the prosecution) coming because we gave our fullest cooperation to the authorities and explained everything,” he said.
When he first took the microphone, the DAP secretary-general sounded weary, but picked up steam when he declared that he would fight the case to the end.
“I would rather die standing than live on bended knees,” he told a packed conference, flanked by Pakatan Harapan leaders.
In response, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said that since Lim has been charged, he should state his defence in the courtroom and not outside.
“His trial is before a High Court and it is the judge who will decide on his guilt or innocence.
“He should not try to have his pending trial brought to the public and stop attempting to submit his defence through the media,” he told The Star in a WhatsApp message.
Mohamed Apandi said Lim’s actions were contrary to the practice of the country’s legal system.
“Our system is an adversarial one in which evidence is adduced and submissions are made by counsel in an open court before a presiding judge.
“No accused person is to make submissions to the public and disregard the judge,” he stressed.
Mohamed Apandi added that Lim’s lawyers should advise him on the matter.