The judge acquitted both Liam Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Khoon after prosecution asked for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. This move came after Malaysia’s Attorney General’s chambers withdrew the charges.
Lim was arrested, along with Phang, by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2016. He was charged with two counts of abusing his position in approving a land deal, and in the purchase of a bungalow in Penang at below market price.
The MACC stated that it was “very surprised” by the decision to both free Lim and Phang. It stressed that it was the Attorney General’s Chambers’ decision, and not theirs—to withdraw the case.
Phang is the former owner of Lim’s Pinhorn Road bungalow, which the latter purchased for $ 679,000 in July 2015. Lim, who is also the secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) had pleaded not guilty to both charges, calling them “politically motivated to crush (his) political career.”
Leaders from the Pakatan Harapan coalition had also condemned legal action against Lim.
Senior DAP leader Lim Kit Siang stated in 2016 that the move was part of concerted efforts “to destroy the opposition and defend” the political position of former prime minister Najib Razak, who was under fire over 1MDB money-laundering probes.