DAP has to collect donations for Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's RM1 million bail because the party is still dependent on funds from the public, despite running the Penang government.
"For a party that is still dependent on contributions and donations from the public, a frozen fund of RM1 million is no small fee," DAP Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said in a Facebook post today.
He said although DAP has been in the state government since 2008, the party itself still relies on public donations as they do not abuse public funds for the party's benefit.
"State money is the rakyat's money, not the party's money, DAP is firm on that," he said, adding the party has never used a single sen from state funds for its own use.
Referring to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's RM2.6 billion donation purportedly from Saudi Arabia, Sim said DAP does not have any Arab donor who can donate such an amount.
"So let BN laugh at DAP leaders and members for needing to use Milo tins to collect donations from the public, but we are still sticking to the party's principles," he said.
Funds to support Lim, DAP
He was responding to criticisms yesterday by activist Fahmi Reza, who had pointed out that bail money is refunded regardless of the verdict.
"Will the RM1 million donated by the public be refunded to every donor once Lim's trial ends?
"If not, will the money be put towards a fund that will help pay the bail for other activists who might get charged in the future?" he asked.
Sim said while the cybertroopers were asking the same question, he felt Fahmi's criticisms were "sincere" and deserved a response.
Commenting on why the donation drive was necessary since DAP had already paid Lim's bail, Sim explained all of the party's funds had been used up-front to foot the amount.
Penang DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow had explained the money was from the entire funds of RM890,000 from Penang DAP as well as RM110,000 from DAP national.
"Following that, the public had expressed a desire to donate to this cause," Sim said.
The donations from the public also sends a message that they are also joining the fight against the "regime", he said.
Sim added that the money collected will be channelled towards their Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng (SSSLGE) campaign as well as for preparations for the 14th general election.
MCA slams donation drive
Meanwhile MCA central committee member Ti Lian Ker also questioned what would happen to the money collected by DAP's donation drive.
"It makes me wonder what DAP would do with the monies should Lim be acquitted of the corruption charges.
"Even if he is not acquitted, the bail amount would be refunded unless Lim decides to jump bail and allow it to be forfeited," he said in a statement today.
The money should be returned to the donors once the case is concluded, he added.
He also questioned the intention behind DAP’s donation drive.
“Why is DAP organising a donation drive to recover money used to bail out the Penang chief minister, who is already out on bail?” he asked.
He said the donation drive might be all right if the funds were for a tragedy that struck the state, but he pointed out that the charges against Lim were personal in nature.
Lim was arrested on Wednesday, shortly after he chaired the state executive council meeting, and the bail of RM1 million was posted in the Penang High Court on Thursday.
The two charges against the chief minister are related to him approving a plot of land for re-zoning, allegedly to benefit businesswoman Phang Li Koon, and his purchase of a bungalow on Jalan Pinhorn from Phang at below market value.
Lim claimed trial and the case has been fixed for mention on Sept 22.