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Ngeh:”It’s a blatant lie,I’ve never taken a single sen of bribe in my life”

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With his back to the wall, Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham has chosen offense as the best form of defence. A “blatant lie” is what he called the allegation that he got a lucrative land deal in Kelantan in exchange for PAS bagging the position of Perak Menteri Besar in 2008.

The land-for-MB scandal in Perak is the latest crisis to envelope the Chinese-dominated party and has already dented DAP’s self-proclaimed image of transparency.

Barisan Nasional lawmakers in Perak claimed last week that both Ngeh and his cousin, Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, were awarded a RM30 million land in exchange for helping PAS’ Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin become the Ment eri Besar after GE 12.

Forced on the defensive yet again, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh demanded an explanation from Ngeh about his role in the logging company.

“This is a very serious issue, so he (Ngeh) must explain his role in this whole matter to the party leadership,” Karpal told a press conference Sunday.

“My advice to all DAP leaders is to avoid being placed in such a position which may create the perception of any wrongdoing,” the party chairman pleaded.

Ngeh has admitted to being a director in the company, but instead of testifying before the central party leadership as Karpal wanted, Ngeh came out fighting with an aggressive statement on Monday.

“Clearly, the allegation that we were given the land in exchange for our agreement to appoint Dato’ Seri Nizar Bin Jamaluddin in 2008 is a blatant lie,” Ngeh said in his statement.

He denied that the PAS-led Kelantan state government had given him or Nga land in the state, claiming that the Perak DAP pair had instead bought over the company developing the land.

“I would like to reiterate that neither YB Nga Kor Ming nor I were given any land by the Kelantan government.

“The acquisition of Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd together with other investors in April this year was a commercial transaction purchased in the open market,” Ngeh declared, without providing any proof to substantiate his claim.

Ngeh said the allegations against him and Nga were to “divert the public’s attention” from the land “scandals” which he claimed they had brought up in the Perak state assembly. Really?

“As my personal integrity is being questioned, I would like to state that never in my whole life have I given a single sen of bribe and neither have I taken a single sen of bribe,” Ngeh claimed.

If only it were so easy to wish away the allegations of wrongdoing, which have been deemed serious enough by his own party chairman to warrant an explanation to the DAP leadership.

Ngeh will have to offer proof instead of emotive homilies, as Karpal is unlikely to be convinced by Ngeh’s expression of innocence. After all, there is a clear “perception” of Ngeh’s wrongdoing.

But that isn’t the only problem Karpal has with Ngeh.

The DAP chairman declared on Sunday that DAP’s policy is to reject all state honours except for those awarded for bravery.

But two party members have failed to comply with this in the past few years, and have failed to “surrender” their titles despite being asked to do so.

And guess what, Ngeh is one of the offenders here too, having accepted the ‘Datuk’ title from the Perak Sultan in 2008. The other is Selangor Assembly Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim hadTeng who received his ‘Datuk’ title in 2010 from the Selangor ruler.

But Ngeh defied Karpal’s diktat on Monday, claiming that he had “never sought to be conferred with any honour or title”, adding that the Perak ruler had conferred the title of his own accord.

The DAP Perak chief further revealed that before he accepted the ‘Datuk’ title, DAP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) had agreed that he “should accept the award”, despite Karpal being against the idea.

“I hope Sdr Karpal Singh will accept the majority decision of the CEC and move on. This issue should not cause any division to the party leadership.

“If Sdr Karpal Singh feels strongly about his view, he should bring it before the CEC for a review,” Ngeh said in his statement.

Ouch. He is clearly not going down without a fight.

According to the choice.com , In typical Pakatan style, Ngeh had threatened last weekend to consider suing his detractors, claiming that they had defamed him and Nga.

But with Karpal unconvinced, perhaps Ngeh should consider suing him first. That would be normal in DAP’s alternate universe, where any criticism is often answered with a lawsuit.