(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): I have called this media conference to clarify mass media reports and certain reactions on what I said at the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng ceramah at the Chew Si Kee San Association, Lebuh Kimberley in Penang on Sunday night.
At the Penang ceramah, I made three important points:
Firstly, that the Lim Guan Eng case is firstly about justice and fair play for a Member of Parliament who had responded to the pleas for help of an ordinary Malay grandmother who had nobody to turn to in her fight for the human rights and women rights of her underaged granddaughter when she was up against the most powerful, influential, wealthy and mighty personality in the state, whether Guan Eng should be prosecuted and jailed for 36 months not for any crime like robbery, rape, arson or murder but for trying to discharge his duties as responsible political leader and MP in standing up for the weak, defenceless, the oppressed against the strong, powerful and mighty.
Secondly, the Lim Guan Eng case does not just concern Lim Guan Eng but symbolise a cluster of fundamental issues which should concern all Malaysians, such as:
These great issues about justice, freedom, good governance and democracy are not new issues but they have not been able to be the directing impulses in the nation-building process, particularly at a time when the country was experiencing the dizzying growth of over eight per cent economic growth for over eight years to the extent that the people are numbed and insensitive to abuses of power, erosion of human rights, rampant corruption and violation of the fundamental rights of the weak and defenceless by the mighty and powerful.
There is a nation-wide outrage over the injustice suffered by Lim Guan Eng that a person who stood up for the weak and defenceless against the powerful and mighty - where the issues of right and wrong are as clear as day and night - should be prosecuted and jailed for 36 months, while the accused is free as a bird. Even the victim, the underaged girl, was detained.
This is an outrage against the injustices of a system which must be channelled into a positive force for changes for the better for our country, and this is why the nation-wide outrage should be translated into a force for good and progress for Malaysia by turning it into a new popular force for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance as Malaysia enters the new millennium.
Thirdly, that although Penang had always been in the forefront for any national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia in the past, I was rather unsure as to the reactions of the people of Penang to the Lim Guan Eng case. The Sympathy, Support and Solidarity Ceramah with Lim Guan Eng in Penang on Sunday was the eighth such event since the Court of Appeal judgement on April 1, when it should be the second after Malacca.
However, after the DAP's devastating electoral debacle in the April 1995 general elections, I was not sure whether the people of Penang are still prepared to be in the frontline in the country in any national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
I was very touched by the heartfelt response of the people of Penang at the ceramah on Sunday night which shows that justice, freedom, democracy and good governance are still very close to the hearts of Penangites.
Earlier in the ceramah, DAP Deputy National Chairman and MP for Jelutong, Karpal Singh had again asked me to reconsider my decision three years ago after the devastating 1995 general elections results to retire from Penang state politics.
In my speech, I said that if the people of Penang are again prepared to be the frontline state in a new national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance as a result of the nationwide outrage over the injustice suffered by Lim Guan Eng, I am prepared to return to the Penang political arena so that Penang can play its role as the engine-head for such national campaign.
I had specifically told the press after the ceramah that I had not announced any 'Tanjong 4' plan and I am surprised at the swift reaction of the Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik that my announcement on Sunday signalled the DAP's intention to relaunch the "Tanjong 4" campaign to capture the Penang State Government.
Despite all his bravado talk about "Kit Siang is in for a shock if he returns to state-level politics", Keng Yaik seems to be easily rattled, which would indicate a sense of extreme insecurity felt by Keng Yaik and other Gerakan leaders about their hold on Penang state government.
Of course, Keng Yaik has reasons to feel unsure and insecure if we take into consideration the results of the various by-elections since the 1995 general elections, in particular the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election in May 1997 and the Sungai Bakap by-election in November 1997.
Be that as it may, let me make it clear that my announcement last Sunday has absolutely nothing to do with any 'Tanjong 4' campaign or any other plan to make a bid to capture the Penang State Government, as the campaign for a new movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance arising from the nation-wide outrage over the injustices suffered by Lim Guan Eng has nothing to do whatsoever with capturing state or national power - but to change the quality of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia!
This is a campaign which should rise above personalities or political parties and I hope Keng Yaik and Gerakan could pledge their support for this campaign, rather than reacting in utter fright as to how this would mean in terms of Gerakan having a Chief Minister in Penang or in spreading falsehoods that the DAP is trying to seek political mileage from the worst economic crisis in the nation's history. I have stated my preparedness to return to the Penang political arena to spearhead Penang's re-emergence as the front-line state in a new national campaign for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, and I await signal whether I should return to the Penang political arena so that Penang could be the engine-head in such a new political movement for justice, freedom and democracy when Malaysia enters the new millennium.