PUTRAJAYA, Jul 4 – Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan today blasted Pakatan Harapan for insisting that Lim Guan Eng should continue to serve as Chief Minister of Penang. He said he can only marvel at the shoddy excuses given by Pakatan Harapan leaders to deny that they practise double standards when justifying why Penang YAB Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is allowed to stay in his position despite being slapped with two counts of criminal charges.
“For example, PKR YB Nurul Izzah and Tian Chua gave the reason that YAB Lim is not in the Federal Government and does not have the authority to interfere in the trial proceedings. This is a simplistic excuse. While it is true that YB Lim is not in the Federal Govt, let me remind you that he is still the head of the ruling government in Penang where the abuse of power and corruption allegedly took place,” he said.
“Given the nature of the charges, it is almost certain that documents and witnesses from the Penang State Government which the accused leads will be referred to and called in the trial. In this regard, witnesses might be required to testify against their boss who is still in power, which would put unnecessary pressure on the former and certainly not conducive to a free and fair trial,” he said.
“YB Nurul Izzah also went on to say that the charges on YAB Lim is a political conspiracy meant to ‘take out’ opposition leaders. If we were to subscribe to this blanket excuse then this essentially suggests that opposition leaders who have committed crime can never be charged since charging them will always be considered a political conspiracy meant to take them out,” he said.
Abdul Rahman also described PAN strategic director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad’s excuse as “no better”. He said Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad considers the timing of charging YAB Lim to be suspicious as Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad says the the next general elections are ‘less than two years away’.
“If we are to follow Dr Dzulkefly’s questioning of the timing, there will never be a right time to charge any opposition leader. If the AG were to press the charges next year, then general elections will only be less than one year away – strengthening his suspicions. On the other hand, if the AG had filed charges last year, I am sure they will give the excuse that this is to divert attention from the 1MDB issue then,” said Abdul Rahman.
“I would also point out that Anwar Ibrahim’s court trials took place in the year 2014 and 2015 – certainly plenty of time for general elections preparations but yet Pakatan still insist the jailing of Anwar is a political conspiracy. It seems that there will never be a good time to file any charges against Pakatan leaders,” he said.
“Perhaps, Dr Dzulkefly could volunteer to suggest what would be the best time to charge a opposition leader. Perhaps the courts and the Attorney General’s Chambers can be persuaded to adjust their timing to your preferred schedule? PKR YB Johari Abdul, however, gave a most unique excuse why YAB Lim need not step aside while facing criminal charges,” he said.
“YB Johari’s excuse is that YAB Lim had addressed the allegations over which he was charged, and that PKR believed in his innocence claiming that this is merely a smear campaign. YB Johari should be reminded that whether an accused is guilty or innocent of criminal charges is not just based on the bare denials of the accused and certainly not for PKR to be the judge,” he said.
“Hence the reason why Malaysia has laws, lawyers, judges and courts. How many of us have been recently offered to buy a multi-million ringgit property that is up to 60 percent off the market price? None of these supposed fighters for ‘keadilan’ have addressed whether there was a benefit to the tune of millions of Ringgit from buying a property that is well below JPPH and market value,” he added.
Abdul Rahman said none of these opposition leaders seem to be able to point out that there is a conflict of interest when a public servant has transacted on a personal basis with a person who has business links with the state government which he leads. He said the various flimsy excuses given by these Pakatan leaders and their inability to understand the criminal charges on YAB Lim have exposed their lack of principles, their double standards and their inability to walk the talk.
In the meanwhile, he added said that with such act of stubbornness and hypocrisy to defend Lim’s decision not to step aside when facing criminal charges, Pakatan Harapan had forfeited the moral right to call for anyone else to step down in future. — Bernama