Lim Guan Eng cannot officially be Malaysia’s finance minister until he’s cleared of graft charges: Dr Mahathir

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (right) will have to put his corruption case to rest before he can be officially appointed Finance Minister.
The Straits Times

Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng will have to be cleared of his pending corruption case before he can be officially appointed Malaysia’s finance minister, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir clarified that Lim was simply named Finance Minister and the appointment is not final until he has taken his oath of office, reported The Star.

“Every minister must be someone who is qualified for the position. If there is a case against such a person, we cannot appoint him or her,” he said after a meeting with ministry secretaries-general on Monday (May 14).

Lim is currently facing trial in Penang for his corruption case.

In June 2016, Lim was charged with using his public office to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew, after approving an application by Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd to convert agricultural land for residential purposes, according to New Straits Times.

He was also slammed with allegations of abusing his position to purchase a bungalow in October 2015 from businesswoman Phang Li Koon for RM2.8 million ($708,000), a price below the property’s market value of RM4.27 million at the time.

Dr Mahathir said the government will have to wait until Lim is cleared of charges before he can officially assume the role of Finance Minister and emphasised the need to abide by the rule of law.

During this period when there is no alternative candidate to fill the position, Dr Mahathir noted that ministerial matters will be brought to him should any ministry need to make a decision but its head has not yet been established.

He said: “I am not taking charge but they report to me. We have a panel which will look into the work at the ministry. Some implementations which can be carried out, will be carried out.”

“For some, we will need to wait until the minister is appointed.”