Tony Pua disgusted with the political persecution of Lim Guan Eng

Tony Pua, Malay Mail Online

If you have been paying attention to Umno leaders in recent months, or if you listen to the chatter of the Barisan Nasional (BN) cyber-troopers on social media or for that matter, if you read the news stories and opinion pieces of the mainstream media — there is a concerted, almost Herculean effort to taint DAP Secretary-General, and former finance minister, Lim Guan Eng with the purported Penang undersea tunnel scandal.

And you might just think, given the level of noise on the matter, this scandal must be nearly as big as the 1MDB scandal, putting Lim Guan Eng in the league of former prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

After all, there’s no smoke without fire right?

Well, that’s exactly how the BN and now Perikatan Nasional (PN) schemers would like you, the man on the street to think. Therefore, if they — the cyber-troopers, the PN-biased mainstream media, assisted by seemingly routine actions by the investigating authorities like the MACC, create sufficient smoke, and of course, fan them like crazy, the seeds of doubt could be planted even in the most hardcore of DAP supporters.

In this case, these guys have successfully created hazardous, choking levels of artificial smoke to insinuate a raging fire. Or as they say, throw enough mud at the person, and some might just stick.

The word on the street is that one of the attached conditions for Umno to join the PN government was to re-open the case against Lim Guan Eng on the undersea tunnel. Yes, “re-open”, because the case has already been investigated and officially closed by MACC in November 2018 because there was no case.

So we see the MACC has been busy lately, arresting a former aide to Lim Guan Eng, interviewing all key executive councillors of the Penang state government, and over the past week, questioned Lim Guan Eng himself for long hours over three days.

The joke is that all who have been questioned were left somewhat bewildered. They were all asked to spend many hours confirming the state government minutes which documented (properly) the process of tendering and awarding the undersea tunnel contract. However, no question, not even to Lim Guan Eng, was asked, or implied of any improper funds, bribes, gratification being given to the “suspect”.

How do you investigate a so-called ‘corruption’ or ‘money-laundering’ case when there’s not even an iota of evidence, however weak, which points to an exchange or transfer of funds?

Datuk Seri Najib Razak, for example, was charged for having spent RM42 million of money which originated from SRC International, part of which paid for his credit card bills and his wife, Rosmah’s shopping in Hawaii. He was also charged for having received at least RM2.6 billion in his personal bank account, which the United States Department of Justice has traced as having originated from 1MDB.

In Najib’s cases, the evidence pointing to the alleged corrupt act — the cash — is well, evident. In Guan Eng’s case, despite all the ‘lightning and thunder’, the purported cash or gratification is mysteriously non-existent.

But all the above didn’t matter for those with an agenda to tarnish his image, and in the process, diminish the reputation and integrity of DAP and Pakatan Harapan.

Take for instance, the opinion piece by Tay Tian Yan, the Deputy Executive Editor-in-Chief for Sinchew Daily last Friday which was entitled — “Guan Eng & Najib: Both Fallen Angels” (冠英和纳吉,同是天涯沦落人).

In Najib’s case, the courts have given a summary judgement for him to pay RM1.69 billion in outstanding taxes. A massive verdict by the court which implied that Najib has been evading taxes to the tune of billions of ringgit. In Guan Eng’s case, he was asked by MACC to give a statement. No charges have even been filed, nor a case established.

But the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Sinchew sees it fit to juxtapose Najib and Guan Eng as ‘equals’, clearly with the malicious intent of inducing readers to judge Guan Eng as guilty and as scandalous as Najib. Clever and cunning right?

The fact that Umno, BN and PN, as well as their media cheerleaders are going to the extremes to concoct an artificial case against Lim Guan Eng ironically, tell you one thing. That despite all the power over the instruments of government in their hands, they can’t find a single case of abuse of power or corruption or criminal breach of trust by the DAP party chief.

Despite being nearly 2 years as the powerful Finance Minister, they could find zero evidence of any such abuses. I have no doubt that over the past few months since the new government came into power, the relevant authorities have been instructed to dig deep to find something, anything, that can be used to charge Lim Guan Eng, or at the very least taint him.

But they have obviously found nothing, no contracts for cronies, no abuse of process, no luxurious private shopping holidays. So they have to go back all the way to re-open the old undersea tunnel case.

Why did MACC close the file previously? Very simply because the project was awarded via an open tender. It was evaluated by a committee chaired by the state secretary, a civil servant, not Lim Guan Eng. And not a single sen has been paid by the state for the tunnel project, which was also only due to commence after the contractor Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd secured all necessary planning and environmental approvals, as well as the necessary funding to carry out the project.

I am disgusted with the powers that be for the political abuse that is taking place right before our very eyes. I’m disgusted with the media personalities who pander to this government. There is little difference between the current regime and the Najib Razak government which we had successfully defeated in 2018. So the silver lining is, if we could bring down what was believed to be an all-powerful Najib Razak government, then we can surely do the same for the fractious Perikatan Nasional regime.