GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has described his relationship with businessman Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping as a normal one.
He also testified in a High Court that he was not aware of any social media discussion on their relationship during cross-examination by defence counsel Raja Eileen Soraya Raja Aman.
Lim had filed a defamation suit against the now defunct online news portal FZ Sdn Bhd and its writer and managing editor Terence Fernandez over the purchase of his official car, a Mercedes-Benz S300L.
His suit was jointly heard yesterday with that of Tan, who filed a similar suit against the publication over the article in 2014.
Raja Eileen earlier questioned Lim if he had a close relationship with Tan.
Lim retorted by asking: “How do you define close?”
When he was pressed again over the same question, Lim said his relationship with Tan was “between a state government and an association”, a reference to Tan being the adviser of Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
He then said “it is like a normal relationship” when questioned for a third time.
Lim is claiming that the article ‘MACC begins probe on Merc purchase’ was done intentionally and maliciously to damage his name, reputation, and political career.
In his witness statement tendered to the court, Lim said the article would give a wrong, false and defamatory impression that the Mercedes was purchased for his benefit at a much lower price.
He strongly denied the alleged “privileged relationship” between him and Tan.
In the joint statement of defence by both defendants, they said the matter is of public interest and averred that Lim, who is serving Chief Minister at material time, has no right to maintain an action of damages for defamation.
They alleged that the Mercedes -Benz was sold to the Penang state government by a company known as Lowe Motors Sdn Bhd, of which Tan was formerly the managing director.
The hearing before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed continues today.