Prosecution and defence in war of words at Guan Eng’s proposed Penang undersea tunnel trial

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — A fiery battle of words erupted during the trial of DAP politician Lim Guan Eng today at the Sessions Court here this morning.

The barbed exchange between deputy public prosecutor Datuk Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin and Lim’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo began right off the bat, when the former told judge Azura Alwi that he was filing a preliminary objection to the defence’s bid to obtain documents from a separate court case that could clear the former Penang chief minister of purportedly receiving RM2 million in bribes.

Wan Shaharuddin argued that the documents sought by the defence were irrelevant to the facts of the present case on the proposed Penang undersea tunnel.

He asserted that the defence application was an attempt to disrupt the court’s decision-making process to reach a premature verdict.

He also said he wished not to submit further on the matter as it will touch on the merits of the application.

Then it was Gobind’s turn. He told the judge that the prosecution and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) were fearful of his application, claiming their suppression of evidence will be exposed before the court.

“Their conduct is unbecoming of the prosecution. I would like to remind my learned friend the role of a prosecutor.

“This is important because in this case some basic principles of justice applicable to the prosecution have been overlooked,” he said.

Gobind went as far to state how the prosecution’s conduct was an affront to the court and implored Justice Azura to “put a stop to it”.

The war of words in the courtroom exploded after the judge dismissed the prosecution’s preliminary objection and instructed parties to argue on the merits of the application.

Wan Shaharuddin said the prosecution was prepared to submit but Gobind cut in, noting the DPP had earlier said he did not wish to do so.

Gobind told the court that “such is the standards of the country’s DPP”, before saying he has documents to prove the prosecution’s suppression of evidence, for which he was chided by the judge.

Wan Shaharuddin then gave Gobind a mocking round of applause and said “what a good drama” the defence is putting in court, and added: “standards of lawyers”, in a close mimicry of his opponent’s words just minutes earlier.

Gobind told the judge he wanted Wan Shaharuddin cited for contempt of court and for the DPP to stop making threats against him.

At this point, Azura signalled that she was fed up and told Gobind and Wan Shaharuddin to stop their antics in her courtroom.

She then scheduled March 23 and 24 to hear the merits of the defence’s application to adduce additional documents for the proposed Penang undersea tunnel trial.

Lim, 61, is facing an amended charge of using his position as Penang chief minister to solicit RM3.3 million in bribes as an inducement to assist Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) owner, Zarul Ahmad, to secure the project worth RM6,341,383,702.

In the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe of 10 per cent of the profit from the company as gratification to secure the project.

The Bagan MP who is the former DAP secretary-general, faces another two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8 million, belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed of to two companies linked to the state’s undersea tunnel project.