Highs and lows of DAP chief's career

KUALA LUMPUR • Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng, who was charged with corruption last Friday, is no stranger to run-ins with the law, with cases going back to the 1980s. Here is a snapshot of some of the highlights of his career.

1986: Lim, the son of veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang, was elected MP in the seat of Kota Melaka for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) in 1986. He retained his seat in the 1990 and 1995 elections.

1987: Detained under the now-defunct Internal Security Act (ISA) in a mass crackdown on political opponents by then Premier Mahathir Mohamad, along with 106 other politicians and activists.

1989: Released from ISA detention.

1994: Arrested following his criticism of the government's failure to bring the statutory rape case of then Melaka Chief Minister Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik to trial as the Attorney-General decided not to press charges.

Lim was charged under the Sedition Act, and also the Printing Presses and Publications Act for "maliciously printing" a pamphlet containing "false information" about the alleged rape victim. He was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment and released after 12 months in August 1999.

2004: Elected to the post of DAP secretary-general, a position he still holds. The DAP today has 42 MPs in Parliament including Lim, making it the biggest party in the House.

2008: Opposition Pakatan Rakyat won 29 out of 40 state assembly seats contested in Penang. Lim, who won the state seat of Air Putih, served as chief minister until 2018.

2014: Penang state government announced a RM27 billion (S$8.8 billion) Penang Transport Master Plan, which includes an undersea tunnel connecting Penang island to the peninsula.

2016: Lim was charged with corruption over the purchase of a house from businesswoman Phang Li Koon at below market value in 2015. He was also charged with abusing his power by re-zoning a plot of land that was acquired by a company linked to Ms Phang.

May 2018: Appointed finance minister in Tun Dr Mahathir's new Pakatan Harapan government.


Sept 2018: Lim was acquitted, along with Ms Phang, of charges over the bungalow and land, by the Penang High Court.

Aug 7, 2020: Lim pleaded not guilty to a charge of soliciting a bribe of 10 per cent of future profits from a company that was awarded a contract to build the Penang undersea tunnel.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2020, with the headline 'Highs and lows of DAP chief's career'. Print Edition | Subscribe