PETALING JAYA: The decision by the Penang High Court to acquit Finance Minister Lim Guan of his corruption charges has apparently shocked not just the country's anti-graft body, but the Prime Minister as well.
Speaking at a press conference in Brunei on Monday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was asked to comment on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) statement that it was “very shocked” by the acquittal.
“They (MACC) have a right to be shocked. If they want to be shocked, they can be shocked. I am also shocked,” he replied.
A video clip of Dr Mahathir's media conference was uploaded to the Buletin TV3 Facebook page.
Asked to comment on the decision, Dr Mahathir said that he had never in the past questioned the decision of the courts.
“If the court makes a decision which to me is wrong, I also never comment (tegur) on it.
“This decision is made by the court so we have to accept it,” he said.
Aside from the MACC and Dr Mahathir, Lim's lawyer Ramkarpal Singh also expressed shock, albeit over the MACC's reaction to the acquittal.
“I am shocked that the MACC is shocked over the decision. They (MACC) obviously have knowledge and been informed that the charges will be withdrawn, as the entire process involves the MACC.
“Is the MACC saying that the AG (Attorney General) did not consult them? This is a serious allegation,” Ramkarpal said in a statement.
Earlier Monday, the Penang High Court acquitted Lim, the former Penang chief minister, and businesswoman Phang Li Koon on corruption charges over the alleged conversion of land status and the purchase of a bungalow below market value.
High Court judge Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail acquitted both accused and decided the charges be dropped despite the prosecution only proposing a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.
Hadhariah, however, said both the accused will be released immediately and would not be called again for the case in future, as they are discharged amounting to acquittal.
Responding to the decision, the country’s graft-busting body said, “”The MACC is shocked by the decision by the Penang High Court in acquitting the former chief minister of the charges of corruption … after the prosecution retracted the case.
“The MACC would like to stress that the decision was made by the Attorney General's office and not the MACC,” it said in its statement Monday.
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