KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — The High Court here today allowed Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s application to set aside the leave obtained by Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali to initiate committal proceedings against him.
Justice Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said made the decision after hearing submissions by senior federal counsel Datuk Amarjeet Singh, who represented Mohamed Apandi, and lawyer Tommy Thomas who acted for Lim.
Kamaludin in his judgment said the AG had failed to make full disclosure of all evidence including the transcripts of the recording of Lim’s statement in the press conference last year when making the application for an ex-parte application leave order before the court.
“To enable the court to make a fair and just decision, it must necessarily have all the relevant facts before it.
“The AG must set out the facts fairly, including the facts that are likely to be raised by the proposed alleged contemnor in objecting to the application,” he said.
Kamaludin noted the AG’s assertion that he watched the CD recording and article on Lim’s press conference in The Star Online’s portal on July 23, last year.
“However, it is different from the unedited transcript causing it to merely produce the incomplete statements by way of the edited transcripts.
“In my opinion, the right procedure is to produce the whole transcripts of the CD which contains the statements allegedly spoken during the press conference and give particulars which part of the statements is alleged to be contemptuous in nature,” the judge said.
Kamaludin also said the AG could not pick and choose the statements which favoured him because there were other statements made in the press conference, which if produced could take away the sting of the alleged contempt.
On September 21, 2016, the court granted leave for the AG to initiate committal proceedings against Lim.
The AG filed an ex-parte originating summons on August 18, 2016 seeking to have Lim jailed for contempt of court for allegedly issuing statements in the print and/or social media “that were detrimental to the administration of justice, leading to erosion of the people’s confidence in the judicial system and questioned the dignity and integrity of the courts”.
Mohamed Apandi added that contempt of court should be frowned upon, failing which doubts could arise on the administration of justice in the country.
According to the AG, the statements made by Lim at a press conference in George Town, Penang, that the corruption charges against him were a conspiracy and that he would be jailed, could be clearly interpreted as the courts being also roped in to trump up the said charges.
On June 30, 2016, Lim pleaded not guilty at the Penang High Court to corruption charges related to the conversion of a parcel of land from agricultural to housing development status, and the purchase of a bungalow allegedly at below market price. — Bernama