A first meeting of  Malaysians in the Klang Valley who have volunteered for the  "Lim Guan Eng Support Group and Volunteers  for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance" will be held on May 13 to discuss actions which could be taken by Malaysians  to promote justice, freedom and good government


Speech
- Sympathy, Support and Solidarity 
with Lim Guan Eng Round-Table Conference

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Kuala Lumpur, Monday): The case of Lim Guan Eng is not only a case of injustice affecting Guan Eng, it also highlights the gross lack of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for all Malaysians in the country.

I believe that Malaysians went through three reactions when they first heard the Court of Appeal decision on April 1, 1998 enhancing  the RM15,000 fine with a 36-month jail sentence for Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act offences.  They were firstly disbelief that there could be such sentences for an MP who had not committed any crime as robbery, rape or murder but who had only responded to a grandmotherís plea for help to defend the human rights and women rights of her underaged granddaughter against the most influential, powerful and mighty person in the state.  In fact, Guan Eng should not have been prosecuted at all and he is clearly a victim of selective prosecution by the Attorney-General.

The second and third reactions were  those of shock and outrage that such injustices could  happen in a society like Malaysia which wants  to take her place in the world as a progressive and vibrant  civil society.

 The question Malaysians have been asking since the Court of Appeal decision on April 1, 1998 is that if a Member of Parliament who conscientiously and diligently discharges his duties by championing the weak, defenceless and oppressed against the strong, influential, powerful and the  mighty has to end up in jail for 36 months and  the underaged girl who is victim of statutory rape has to serve a period  in detention, while the accused continues to be as free as a bird, what justice, democracy and good governance is there in Malaysia?

Is this what Vision 2020  is all about?  Vision 2020 talks about  a united Malaysian society, a caring and just society, infused by strong moral and ethical values!  The case involving  the underaged girl, Lim Guan Eng and Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Chik makes a complete mockery of Vision 2020.  Are we  therefore moving towards  or away from Vision 2020?

The Lim Guan Eng case  is not only about justice for Guan Eng. It is also about  the great issues of  freedom of expression, the role of MPs, independence of the judiciary, the future of democracy  and good governance which must be the concern of all right-thinking and far-seeing Malaysians.

If there is justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, Malaysia will not face the multiple crises of today, whether national economic crisis, water shortage crisis, haze crisis, EPF crisis or  crisis of confidence in the judiciary.

Malaysia has suddenly been reduced from a first-class world nation comparable with the most developed countries in the West into a third-rate nation where even the most  basic human needs of the people such as clean air, piped water, adequate food or  basic health facilities could not be met.

The challenge to Malaysians  is how the nation-wide outrage over the injustice of the Lim Guan Eng case could be transformed into a peopleís power demanding justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia.

The issues highlighted by the Lim Guan Eng case transcends personality, race, religion, gender or party politics and should be the concern of all Malaysians and the civil society.

This is why we welcome Malaysians who have  volunteered for the "Lim Guan Eng Support Group and Volunteers for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance" to make their contribution to make Malaysia a better country where all Malaysians could be proud because  justice, freedom, democracy and good governance flourish in the country.

The first meeting of Malaysians in the Klang Valley who have volunteered for the  "Lim Guan Eng Support Group and Volunteers for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance" would be held next Wednesday, 13th May 1998 to discuss what Malaysians and the civil society can do to save Guan Eng and promote justice, freedom, democracy and good government in Malaysia.  We welcome more Malaysians to volunteer their services in this common cause.

(4/5/98)


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