Attorney-Generalís decision to announce his intention to appeal against Guan Engís sentences as inadequate and to seek to jail Guan Eng unprecedented and most extraordinary


Media Conference Statement (I)
by Lim Kit Siang

(Miri, Thursday): The decision of the Attorney-Generalís Chambers to announce its intention to appeal against the sentences imposed on DAP Deputy Secretary-General, DAPSY National Chairman and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, as inadequate "in view of the gravity of the offernces which is against the administration of justice" and to seek to jail Guan Eng is unprecedented and most extraordinary.

On Monday, Guan Eng was fined RM5,000 for the offence of Sedition Act and RM10,000 for the offence of publishing false news under the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

The maximum penalties for the offence of sedition under which Guan Eng was charged is RM5,000 fine, three yearsí jail or both. The maximum penalties for the offence of publishing false news is RM20,000 fine, three yearsí jail or both.

In being fined RM5,000 for the offence of sedition, Guan Eng had been given the maximum fine and if the Attorney-General, Datuk Mohtar Abdullah is not satisfied with the adequacy of this sentence, it can only mean that the Attorney-General is not satisfied that Guan Eng faces disqualification as Member of Parliament as having been fined more than RM2,000 but want him to be given a custodial sentence and be jailed.

In making an announcement that the Attorney-Generalís Chambers would be appealing against the sentences meted out to Guan Eng as inadequate to the gravity of the offences, the target audience is not the Court of Appeal but the Malaysian public.

Since the Attorney-General has taken the unprecedented and most extraordinary decision to announce his intention to appeal for enhanced and custodial sentences against Guan Eng, he also owes the Malaysian public a full accounting as to why he had decided on the unprecedented and most extraordinary decision to make such an announcement public, and secondly the reasons why he is not satisfied with the adequacy of the sentences meted out to Guan Eng.

It is up to the Malaysian people to decide, taking into consideration the circumstances of the exercise of his constitutional powers to "initiate, conduct or discontinue" prosecutions, whether the Attorney-Generalís latest decision is fair, just and proper.

I had announced in Petaling Jaya yesterday that I would be consulting other political parties, NGOs, eminent Malaysians including distinguished jurists and lawyers, whether there should be a motion of no confidence against the Attorney-General, Datuk Mohtar Abdullah for misusing his discretionary powers in a series of controversial decisions when exercising his constitutional powers to "initiate, conduct or discontinue" prosecutions, especially in a pattern showing selective prosecution against the Opposition and NGOs.

I will begin this consultation immediately after my return to the Federal capital. However, under the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders, which requires 14 daysí notice for a motion, it will not be possible to submit a motion in time for the current meeting which will end on May 13 - despite a two-day extension.

(1/5/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong