GEORGE TOWN – Penang state exco Phee Boon Poh, who was remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since Saturday, broke down in tears as he embraced his relatives in the Penang High Court today.
Phee was brought to the Penang High Court at about 10.45am to submit his application through his lawyers to challenge the remand order against him.
Wearing the orange MACC lockup uniform, Phee somberly spoke to his relatives for a few minutes from the dock before conversing with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Earlier, at about 10am, Lim along with Phee’s lawyers RSN Rayer and Ramkarpal Singh, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and a group of supporters marched to the Penang High Court together.
The entourage of supporters held a banner proclaiming solidarity for Phee as they walked from Ramkarpal’s office in Green Hall to the court house just a few hundred metres away.
The lawyers will be filing a revision application with the High Court against the five-day remand order issued against Phee today.
Yesterday, the lawyers’ applications to the Alor Setar High Court to challenge the remand order was turned down.
The Alor Setar High Court judge Datuk Hashim Hamzah reportedly said the application should be filed in Penang instead of in Kedah.
On Saturday, the magistrate’s court here granted a five-day remand order against Phee to facilitate probe into an illegal carbon filter factory in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam.
The remand order, which ends on Wednesday, was to facilitate the MACC investigations under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 for abuse of power for gratification.
The factory’s 70-year-old manager and his 37-year-old son, the factory’s director, were issued the same five-day remand order.
Lawyer Dev Kumaraendran, who represented the factory manager and his son, also filed similar applications yesterday that was rejected by the Alor Setar High Court.
He is also present at the Penang High Court to file a similar application here today.
Exco member Phee freed after remand order overturned
MEANWHILE, according to Malaysiakini:
State executive councillor Phee Boon Poh and two others were today released after successfully challenging their five-day remand orders amidst a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation.
High Court judicial commissioner Abdul Wahab Mohamed overturned the remand orders issued last Saturday by a George Town Magistrate’s Court assistant registrar.
DPP prosecutor Ahmad Ghazali Muhamad Nadzri represented the MACC.
Upon release, Phee thanked his lawyers and supporters for standing by him throughout his ordeal.
“I will continue to serve the people. We must stand together, as this is the darkest hour in Malaysia,” he said.
“I am innocent and everyone knows I am innocent. I have only been sincerely helping the people, and this has been the state policy for years.
“I will continue to assist people in need,” he said.
Speaking outside the court, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state’s policy on illegal businesses and structures would remain.
The state’s policy, which had led to Phee’s letters for which the MACC is investigating him, is to find a “win-win” solution for the problem, instead of banning businesses or demolishing structures with one swoop.
“We wait for clarification from MACC regarding this. If the commission can interfere in state policy, this should not only affect Penang but other states as well,” Lim told reporters.
‘No more arrest’
Outside the court house, lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said last Saturday’s decision of George Town Magistrate’s Court assistant registrar, Ameera Mastura Khamis, to remand Phee until Wednesday has been “set aside”.
Ramkarpal (photo) said this implied that the remand order is non-existent.
“This means Phee and two others – the factory director and manager – who were also remanded with him last Saturday, are free,” he told reporters.
“The investigating officer told us that Phee will not be arrested again, so we rely on his assurance that it will not happen,” he added.
“We have also given him the assurance that we will cooperate fully with the police or MACC to provide statements or be questioned. That is not a problem,” said the DAP Bukit Gelugor MP.
Ramkarpal said the lawyers are pleased with the High Court’s decision, adding, “Phee and the other two persons are not restricted in their movements in any way.”
Remand decision ‘irregular’
Earlier this morning, a teary-eyed Phee appeared in handcuffs at the High Court in Penang for the hearing of his legal challenge against the remand order.
Clad in the MACC orange detainee uniform, Phee managed to speak to his family members and receive a hug from DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang before he was taken into the courtroom.
DAP supporters told Malaysiakini that Phee looked “tired and emotional”.
A group led by Guan Eng held banners outside the court house to show their support for Phee, who handles the environment, welfare and caring society portfolio.
Phee’s other lawyer, RSN Rayer, said the five-day remand order against Phee was “highly irregular” because it was issued by the assistant registrar without hearing a submission from the client.
Last Friday, Phee was arrested for allegedly writing letters that urged the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) against taking action on an illegal carbon filtering factory in Bukit Mertajam.
MACC raided the factory, MPSP and Phee’s office in Komtar, his service centre in Sungai Puyu and home in Butterworth and seized documents related to the matter.
– Malay MaiL