(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Johore State DAP has decided to convene an extraordinary meeting of all DAP members in Johore next Sunday, 12th April 1998 over Lim Guan Eng’s three-year jail sentence and its far-reaching implications such as on the freedom of expression and the future of democracy in Malaysia. The extraordinary meeting of all DAP members in Johore next Sunday would be held in Kluang.
The DAP Central Executive Committee, which will hold an emergency meeting in Malacca tomorrow, will also consider whether similar extraordinary meetings of DAP members in each state should be convened.
Although it is three days now since the Court of Appeal decision to enhance Guan Eng’s sentences of RM15,000 fines to three years’ jail for offences under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the public shock, disbelief and outrage at the completely unexpected severity of the Court of Appeal decision has not abated and many ask how they could help and show their sympathy, support and solidarity with Guan Eng.
I fully agree with an Internet posting that while Malaysians must be disciplined and law-abiding and accept the decision of the Court of Appeal, this does not mean they cannot feel or express outrage at the decision when it flies against the most fundamental concept of justice of ordinary Malaysians.
It is most tragic that the Public Prosecutor has succeeded in the charge that Guan Eng had set out to attack the judiciary, when all Guan Eng had set out to do was to respond to the pleas for help of the Malay grandmother of the underaged girl who have nowhere to turn to in the fight to defend the human rights and woman rights of her grand-daughter against the might, power and influence of a state chief minister.
The courts should rightly not tolerate any attacks on the judiciary. In Malaysian history, the person who has made the most heinous attack on the judiciary is none other than a High Court judge himself, who wrote a 33-page "Surat Layang" containing 110 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and other improprieties against 10 named judges.
But has this High Court judge, who has subsequently admitted authorship of the most serious and unprecedented attack on the Malaysian judiciary, been charged in court? No. It is not this High Court judge who has received a three-year jail sentence, but Guan Eng who had not made any attack on the judiciary but wanted to help defend the human rights and woman rights of the underaged girl against the then Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik.
I wish to thank countless number of Malaysians who have extended their sympathy, support and solidarity to Guan Eng and me at this hour of our travail.
This is a testing time not only for Guan Eng, myself and our family, it is also a great ordeal for Guan Eng’s children. When I was first detained in Muar under the Internal Security Act in 1969/1970, Guan Eng was teased by his primary schoolmates for having a father who is a "bad person" and have to be in jail.
When Guan Eng was sentened to 36 months’ jail last Wednesday and spent the night in Kajang Prison until he was bailed out the next day pending appeal to the Federal Court, we took pains not to inform Guan Eng’s children and to avoid letting them see news photographs of their father in handcuffs. However, we were unable to really protect them for my granddaughter, Rachel Lim, was asked in school by her classmates about her father being jailed - when she did not know anything about it.
I therefore feel very outraged by two columnists in the China Press today trying to make a joke of the real sufferings my family is undergoing. One said that it is all right for Guan Eng to go to jail, provided that it is like me, not too long where I could be Parliamentary Opposition Leader. Another suggested that although Guan Eng had been given 36-month jail sentences, we are happy because there is political mileage to be gained.
I would advise these cynical columnists that we do not need their sympathy whatsoever but they can spare us their cynicism and venom.