Dr Ling moves to recuse judge
UPDATED @ 10:39:11 AM 18-06-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik today applied to recuse High Court judge Ahmadi Asnawi from his Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) cheating trial, allegedly on grounds the latter had shown bias in ordering his defence to be entered in the trial.
“He complained the judge used strong words in calling for his defence and he said that amounts to bias,” lead prosecutor Datuk Tun Majid Tun Hamzah told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.
Ahmadi had ordered the former transport minister to enter his defence over three cheating charges involving the PKFZ land acquisition scandal after ruling that the prosecution had established a prima facie case.
“As far as we are concerned, we’ve proven there’s a prima facie case beyond reasonable doubt.
“It’s a matter of choice of words,” Tun Majid said.
The court will hear the argument for the recusal this Thursday at 2.30pm.
The court had previously fixed June 18 to 22, July 2 to 5, July 10 to 15 and July 15 to 18 to hear Dr Ling’s defence.
Dr Ling was charged in July last year with knowingly deceiving the Cabinet into approving land purchase for the PKFZ, which resulted in wrongful losses for the government.
The charge, under section 418 of the Penal Code, carries a penalty of up to seven years in jail, or a fine or both.
The former MCA president also faces two alternative charges of deceiving the Cabinet into believing that the terms of purchase — at RM25 psf and 7.5 per cent interest — were acknowledged and agreed to by Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) despite knowing that there was no such agreement.
The alternative charges carry a lighter sentence of five years in jail, or a fine, or both.
In his ruling, trial judge Ahmadi said it was “absolutely not acceptable” for someone of Dr Ling’s “position” to claim ignorance to the details of the land purchase.
“The onus is on him directly to make full disclosure (to the Cabinet)... he cannot shift the blame,” Ahmadi had said when ordering Dr Ling to enter his defence.
“The prosecution has made a prima facie case against the accused. The accused is ordered to enter defence... on all three charges,” the judge added.
Prosecutors, said Ahmadi, only needed to prove “intentional inducement”.
He added that there was clear evidence that this had happened.
He said the former transport minister cannot “hide behind the veil of advice” given by his ministry’s functionaries to seek “relief and protection.”
The High Court judge said the accused’s conduct showed “anything but innocence” and that he has concealed JPPH’s valuation.
Ahmadi said Dr Ling had “opted” not to inform the Cabinet of the interest rate for at least seven months, and that it led to the Cabinet imposing a ceiling of RM1.088 billion for the purchase of the PKFZ land.
“On the facts and evidence there can be no doubt that the Cabinet was deceived into believing that RM1,088 billion (at RM25psf) was the total amount of the purchase price that PKA has to pay,” said Ahmadi.
He added that there was no need to call all ministers present during the Cabinet meeting relating to the land purchase, saying that the subject matter was specific — on acquisition of the said land and at what price.