PHEE’S HOMES SEARCHED

MACC of­fi­cers also take him to his two houses to gather doc­u­ments

New Straits Times - - Front Page - RE­PORTS BY BALVIN KAUR AND MO­HAMED BASYIR

THE MACC probe into the fac­tory that has caused much grief to vil­lagers in Sun­gai Lembu is stepped up with thor­ough checks at the ser­vice cen­tre and homes of the de­tained Pe­nang En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee chair­man. The graft-busters will also call up the Pe­nang chief min­is­ter and Penanti as­sem­bly­man to get their state­ments.

THE Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (MACC) ramped up its probe into the il­le­gal car­bon fil­ter fac­tory case, as it searched the ser­vice cen­tre and two houses of Pe­nang En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee chair­man Phee Boon Poh yes­ter­day.

The Sun­gai Puyu as­sem­bly­man was es­corted by MACC of­fi­cers to his ser­vice cen­tre in Jalan Ong Yi How here at noon.

Clad in an orange MACC lockup T-shirt, he was seen be­ing es­corted into his ser­vice cen­tre and was later taken to his two houses in Ta­man Dahlia and Sun­gai Puyu here.

The of­fi­cers spent about an hour car­ry­ing out searches in each of the premises and were seen leav­ing with bags of doc­u­ments.

Phee’s of­fice on Level 53, Kom­tar here, was also searched by MACC of­fi­cers on Fri­day.

This fol­lowed MACC’s raid at the il­le­gal fac­tory in Sun­gai Lembu on Thurs­day fol­low­ing com­plaints from vil­lagers.

In widen­ing its probe into the case, MACC will fo­cus on two let­ters writ­ten by Phee in 2015 and last year that no ac­tion needed to be taken against the il­le­gal fac­tory.

The let­ters di­rected the Se­berang Perai Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil not to shut down the car­bon fil­ter pro­cess­ing fac­tory.

MACC deputy chief com­mis­sioner (Op­er­a­tions) Datuk Azam Baki said they would call up Pe­nang Chief Min­is­ter Lim Guan Eng and Penanti as­sem­bly­man Dr Nor­lela Arif­fin to get their state­ments as part of the probe.

He said it was stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure to record state­ments from all par­ties to en­sure a thor­ough and com­plete in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Azam said state­ments from Lim and Nor­lela were needed as they had re­leased state­ments with re­gard to the op­er­a­tions of the il­le­gal fac­tory.

“They (Lim and Nor­lela) will be called as soon as pos­si­ble.

“At the same time, MACC is look­ing into other as­pects as well.

“So far, we have recorded state­ments from sev­eral wit­nesses and the three sus­pects, in­clud­ing Phee.”

Also nabbed as part of the probe were the fac­tory’s man­ager Gan Buck Hee, 70, as well as his son and fac­tory di­rec­tor, Ed­mund Gan Eu Leong, 37.

Yes­ter­day, the Alor Star High Court re­jected ap­pli­ca­tions of Phee, as well as the fa­ther and son duo, to be re­leased from a five­day re­mand or­der.

On Satur­day, the mag­is­trate’s court here granted a five-day re­mand or­der against Phee and the fa­ther and son to fa­cil­i­tate a probe into the case.

Mean­while, the Peo­ple’s Al­ter­na­tive Party (PAP) has urged the state govern­ment and lo­cal coun­cils to come clean and re­veal all il­le­gal fac­to­ries op­er­at­ing in Pe­nang.

Its sec­re­tary, Rah­mad Isa­hak, claimed that he had re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from his sources that there were more than 200 il­le­gal fac­to­ries on pri­vate and govern­ment land in Pe­nang, with a ma­jor­ity of them si­t­u­ated on the main­land.

“This is the fig­ure I have with me, but there could be more,” he said.

“The ex­act fig­ures are with the re­spec­tive lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

“We are giv­ing them two weeks (to com­ply, fail­ing which), we will for­ward our in­for­ma­tion to MACC) for them to take ac­tion.”

Rah­mad called for the state govern­ment and lo­cal coun­cils to spec­ify when each il­le­gal fac­tory be­gan op­er­at­ing.

He was re­spond­ing to a state­ment by Lim, who said that no ac­tion would be taken against build­ings, hawk­ers stalls and tem­ples built and set up il­le­gally be­fore 2008 un­less they were af­fect­ing traf­fic and the peo­ple liv­ing around them.

He said this was un­til the state govern­ment found an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion to en­sure a win-win sit­u­a­tion for all.

“His state­ment is to­tally ir­re­spon­si­ble. (Putting ac­tion) on hold… with­out a spe­cific time frame.

“So, the list should spec­ify how many of the il­le­gal fac­to­ries were set up be­fore 2008 and af­ter that.

“Do not wait un­til the MACC con­ducts an­other raid,” Rah­mad said.

PIC BY AMIR IRSYAD OMAR

Malaysian Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion of­fi­cers es­cort­ing Pe­nang En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee chair­man and Sun­gai Puyu as­sem­bly­man Phee Boon Poh (cen­tre) to his ser­vice cen­tre in But­ter­worth to seize doc­u­ments kept there yes­ter­day.

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