GEORGE TOWN, Mar 27 – The total cost of renovation of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s bungalow at 25, Jalan Pinhorn here came to RM121,131.03 in 2009, the High Court heard today during the corruption trial today.
Contractor Chong Eng Tong of ET Construction, whose company was hired for the renovation works, said he was approached by a person named “Ah Yong” in February or March 2009 to undertake renovation works on the house in early 2009.
He said the renovations on the house included expanding the living room, kitchen and dining area, putting in marble flooring, building a security guard house and a car park area. The 61-year-old then went to the house, which was vacant at the time.
“Among the renovation works we carried out were expanding the living room, putting in marble flooring, expanding the dining room, expanding the space behind the house, erecting a security guard post, as well as a car park area,” he told the court.
Chong said when he started renovation works at the house, he did not know the bungalow was for the chief minister. However, as his workers started constructing the guard post, he found out from Ah Yong that the house was for Lim.
He said payment for RM105,543.22 worth of renovations was settled by cheques in July 2009 while he also received two cash payments of RM6,252.81 and RM9,335 respectively in May 2009.
“I confirm that the cheques amounting RM50,000 and RM55,500 were part of the payment made to me by Miss Phang for renovation works on 25, Pinhorn Road,” he said, referring to the house owner at that time, Phang Li Koon.
He also said Phang visited the house to check on the renovation works once or twice.Lim was also alleged to have used his position to obtain gratification by purchasing a bungalow from businesswoman Phang Li Koon for RM2.8 million, which is below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million, on July 28, 2015. Phang was charged with abetment. Both Lim and Phang have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Earlier, Teoh Poh Huat, the director of real estate company Henry Butcher Malaysia (Penang) Sdn Bhd, told the court his company had carried out a valuation of the Jalan Pinhorn property on Nov 21, 2008 and had also signed a valuation report for loan/ credit security purposes applied by Phang.
The physical valuation was carried out by the company’s assistant manager of its valuation division, Yeoh Peng Hong, who checked the interior and exterior of the property, on November 21, 2008. Chong and Teoh were two of the total 14 witnesses to testify in Penang chief minister Lim and Phang’s graft trial.
Both Lim and businesswoman were charged with graft over his house purchase deal in 2015. A total 14 witnesses have been called to testify for the trial today while 11 witnesses have already testified yesterday. The prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Masri Mohd Daud, is expected to call 55 witnesses for the trial.
Lim is represented by Gobind Singh Deo, RSN Rayer and Hisyam Teh, while Phang is represented by V Sithambaram and Rueban Kumar. This is the first week of the trial before adjourning until April 9. The case will then be heard from April 9 to 12, April 23 to 27, May 7 to 10 and May 21 to 25 this year. — PN