Malaysia’s former finance minister Lim Guan Eng on Friday pleaded not guilty in court after being charged with soliciting a bribe related to a 1.5-million-dollar undersea tunnel project.
The former minister who was arrested late Thursday appeared in court in Kuala Lumpur on charges of seeking 10 per cent
of potential profits from the project, a 7.2-kilometre tunnel linking Penang Island in Malaysia’s north to the mainland.
Speaking to the media after the Friday morning hearing, Lim denied the charges, which he labelled politically motivated.
The tunnel was commissioned while Lim was chief minister of Penang from 2008 to 2012 and is scheduled for completion in 2025.
The 59-year-old Lim faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
Lim’s wife Betty Chew was also arrested on Friday on separate charges, her lawyer told local media.
Lim was appointed finance minister in mid-2018 by Mahathir Mohamad, who became prime minister after a surprise election win
in May that year for the Pakatan Harapan/Alliance of Hope coalition.
Mahathir’s administration fell in late February after he resigned as prime minister, allowing the United Malays National Organisation,
the party of Najib Razak, prime minister from 2009 to 2018, to regain a place in government.
Najib was convicted in late July for corruption and abuse of office related to a state fund called 1MDB, though his 12-year jail term was suspended.(dpa/NAN)