Gerakan man says no evidence Guan Eng acted solo in land deal

GEORGE TOWN: Jason Loo, a former Gerakan leader today told the High Court here that he has no evidence that former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng had made decisions in silo on a 2017 land sale made through Chief Minister Incorporated, a statutory corporation which is the state investment arm.

Loo said this when examined by Lim’s lawyer Mureli Navaratnam at the hearing of a defamation suit that Lim has brought against Loo and three local newspapers over accusations of improprieties in the land sale.

The land was sold by Chief Minister Incorporated at a cost of RM156 million to Island Hospital Sdn Bhd on a 99-year lease. The hospital was reported to have paid RM30 million so far, with the balance to be paid once a hospital licence was obtained. The land, originally held by the State Secretary’s Office, was alienated to CMI prior to the sale.

In his five-hour examination-in-chief today, Loo was asked a variety of questions, especially about how he had concluded that Lim had the full power of decision-making in CMI.

Loo agreed with Mureli that he had read the explanantions given by Lim that the Peel Avenue land sale was above board and made with the agreement of the state executive council.

He disagreed with Mureli’s assertion that Loo’s claim of Lim acting alone did not hold water, as it was reached through consensus of exco members. He also disagreed that his claims of impropriety were without basis.

Loo denied that his accusation against Lim had been made “for personal gain and to defame him” or that he was insincere in asking questions about the land sale at his press conferences, or that he had sensationalised the issue without any basis.

Loo disagreed with Mureli’s assertion that he had displayed malice by using language such as the words “full of crap” at one of his press conferences condemning Lim and the state government, or that it was unprofessional and unbecoming of a politician.

Loo testified that in making his accusations against Lim he had relied on the premise that the chief minister had been given full powers to do as he wished under the 2009 enactment incorporating the office of Chief Minister.

He reiterated that he was merely acting as a check and balance on the Penang government by scrutinising their every move.

The trial will resume tomorrow with sub-editors of China Press and Guang Ming Ribao giving their testimony before Justice Rosilah Yop.

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