Guan Eng fails in bid to declare Section 62 of MACC Act unconstitutional

AUDREY DERMAWAN

GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon failed in their bid to declare Section 62 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act "unconstitutional".

Section 62 of the MACC Act 2009 requires the defence, in cases of this nature, to file a statement of defence.

Judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail, in striking out the motion filed by Lim and Phang, ruled that there is nothing unconstitutional about the Act.

She also ordered for the defence to be filed on or before March 21.

"Having considered the MACC Act 2009 in its totality, there is no reason for the court to say that it is unconstitutional... it is constitutional and valid.

"It also does not infringe on Article 5(1) and 8(1) of the Federal Constitution," she said in her judgment.

Article 5(1) states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty, save in accordance with law.

Article 8(1) states that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

Hadhariah also assured that the accused will be given a fair trial and be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"The burden of proof continues to remain with the prosecution, and has not shifted to the accused," she added.

Lim and Phang had filed separate motions in Jan to declare Section 62 of the MACC Act 2009 "unconstitutional".

Lim filed the motion through his lead counsel, Gobind Singh Deo, while Phang, through her lead counsel, Datuk V. Sithambaram.

On June 30 last year, Lim had claimed trial to two corruption charges at the High Court here.

On the first count, he was accused of having used his position as a civil servant to obtain gratification for him and his wife, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd to convert agricultural land to residential land, while chairing a state Planning Committee meeting on July 18, 2014.

For the second charge, he was accused of using his position to purchase a house from Phang for RM2.8 million, which was a price he knew was below the property's market value of RM4.27 million, on July 28 last year.

His trial has been fixed for 34 days from March 27.