(Penang, Saturday): I am not surprised that Mahathir has tried to hurl allegations of nepotism against me to deflect allegations of nepotism against him. But I am very sad that there are CEC leaders who go around to say the same thing.
Wee Choo Keong, Liew Ah Kim and Fung Ket Wing, who have been removed or suspended from their party positions, have publicly maintained a most proper and correct position, telling the local press in a joint statement that they love the party, that they are innocent and that they want an independent and impartial inquiry. But this did not stop Wee Choo Keong from telling the foreign press that the CEC took actions against them because of "nepotism and cronyism".
Dr. Chen had this morning addressed and rebutted the allegations which had surfaced publicly, emanating from inside the party, that there had been double-standards in the handling of the Wee Choo Keong and Lim Guan Eng cases. This is the first time the party leadership has responded publicly to a very insidious campaign to undermine the image, credibility and integrity of the DAP leadership.
As Dr. Chen pointed out this morning, there is a fundamental difference between the Wee Choo Keong case and the Lim Guan Eng case. Wee Choo Keong’s case is a civil case, between Wee Choo Keong and MBF’s Loy Hean Heong, which ended up as a contempt case. Lim Guan Eng’s case is a criminal case, where Guan Eng is the victim of a politically-motivated selective prosecution. DAP and the Malaysian public can accuse the government of being unfair in subjecting Guan Eng to a politically-motivated selective prosecution, but we cannot make the same allegation against the government or the Attorney-General in connection with Choo Keong’s case.
There have also been allegations that there was double-standards in the party handling the question of bail in the case of Wee Choo Keong and Lim Guan Eng.
I have been accused not only of refusing to agree that the Party provide bail of RM100,000 pending appeal for Choo Keong when he was convicted and sentenced to two years’ jail for contempt by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 28th January 1994, but of being guilty of the grave discourtesy of rudely rejecting such a request in front of Choo Keong’s mother, causing her to remark that it was better for Choo Keong to join a gangsters’ party as the gangsters would have raised the RM100,000 bail.
Karpal Singh and I were in court that day and both of us can confirm that there had been no such request. Furthermore, as Dr. Chen mentioned this morning, the question of the party providing for the RM100,000 bail was never raised in the Central Executive Committee whether by Choo Keong or any other CEC member.
The RM100,000 bail was never a question on that day because Choo Keong had already made arrangements for such an eventuality as illustrated by the short time taken to post the bail. Choo Keong did not, like Guan Eng, had to spent a night in Kajang Prison for inability to post bail.
What is very sad, however, is the insinuation of double-standards that the party provided the RM20,000 bail for Guan Eng while the party refused to provide the RM100,000 bail for Choo Keong.
In actual fact, the party never provided bail for Guan Eng. What is even sadder is that Fung Ket Wing, as National Treasurer, knows that the party had not furnished the RM20,000 bail for Guan Eng but he kept quiet when such false and baseless insinuations were made by Choo Keong to party leaders and members.
Thirdly, as Dr. Chen said this morning, it is a completely false and baseless allegation that I had not bothered about Wee Choo Keong when he was convicted and sentenced by the Kuala Lumpur High Court. As Dr. Chen had testified this morning, I had done a lot for Choo Keong and even done what I had not done and would not do for Guan Eng.
What is sad is that DAP national leaders who know the facts and the background of this matter kept quiet when such baseless allegations were made.
Fourthly, there is the allegation of double-standards with regard to the so-called campaign in sympathy, support and solidarity with Lim Guan Eng and no campaign in sympathy, support and solidarity with Wee Choo Keong.
There are two points to be made here. The campaign in sympathy, support and solidarity with Lim Guan Eng was a collective decision of the Central Executive Committee at a meeting in Malacca on April 5, after the Malacca DAP State had taken the initiative to organise a ceramah in support of Guan Eng.
The Federal Territory DAP State Committee, which was then under the Chairmanship of Sdr. Liew Ah Kim, had never met to provide support for Wee Choo Keong or to ask the DAP Central Executive Committee for a campaign on the matter.
What is more important is the difference in the nature of the two cases. In fact, I would say that it would not have been possible to launch a sympathy, support and solidarity with Lim Guan Eng with such tremendous support that some 45 such functions, whether ceramahs, dinners, conferences or round-tables, had been held, if Guan Eng had not been imposed with a 36-month jail sentence.
If the Court of Appeal had, for instance, upheld the Malacca High Court sentence of RM15,000 fine against Guan Eng for the offences under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act, which would have resulted in Guan Eng’s disqualification as a Member of Parliament and the end of his parliamentary and political life, I do not think the Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign would have elicited such great public response.
It was the nation-wide outrage at the 36-month jail sentence for an MP who did not commit any crime of arson, robbery or murder but merely discharged his duty to defend the honour, human and women rights of an underaged girl against the powerful and mighty that created the conditions for the success for such a campaign, turning it from a campaign just about Lim Guan Eng into a larger national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
In fact, in the first few Sympathy, Support and Solidarity ceramahs and round-table conferences, we were not confident about support and were even expecting failures.
All DAP leaders and members should be encouraged by the tremendous response from the public to the Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign and the ensuing national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, but unfortunately, there were CEC members who not only stayed away from the Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng campaign and the national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, they tried to ensure their failure.
For instance, there is not a single event held or planned, whether for Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng or the national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Sabah although more than two months have passed.
One question asked by everybody is "Why now", when the general elections is so near and the political situation seems to be favourable to the DAP, why the party’s problems cannot be contained so as not to spoil the DAP’s chances in the coming general elections.
The Central Executive Committee was forced to take the decisions on June 3 because of the Wee, Liew and Fung had caused disunity and dissension among party leaders and members in Perak and Malacca at state combined branch meetings purportedly to discuss party matters, where false and baseless allegations against national leaders were spread.
In Malacca, they created an unprecedented crisis where the Malacca State Chairman and the entire Malacca state committee resigned, nearly causing a total vacuum in the DAP state leadership in Malacca.
As a result, the DAP CEC’s confidence in them in their various national posts were gravely shaken and the DAP had to take firm action to stop such dissension and disunity from being spread to other states, especially at a time when national and state leaders were focussing their energies and efforts in the national campaign for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance
I feel very pained by the latest developments in the party. I have nothing personal against Wee, Liew and Fung. I personally welcome Wee, Liew and Fung back into the mainstream of the DAP leadership if they realise the harm they had been doing to the party and are prepared to assume collective leadership and responsibility for what the Party had decided.