(Penang, Saturday): Malaysia is attracting the worst possible publicity as a country where an MP is disqualified and jailed for 36 months not for any heinous crime of armed robbery, arson or murder but for defending the honour, human rights and women rights of an underaged girl who was herself detained while the powerful and mighty accused goes scotfree
Such a dubious reputation does not reflect well on Malaysia and raises the fundamental question as to what type of a society and civilisation we are trying to build in the country. Is this the Vision 2020 that all Malaysians have been asked to dedicate themselves for the next two decades?
There is clearly something wrong with our values and our society if
a responsible MP who goes to the defence of the honour, human rights and
women rights of an underaged girl should be jailed for 36 months, with
the girl even detained for a period while the accused is able to get off
The Lim Guan Eng case has brought to the fore the fundamental issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia.
We are not here to attack the judiciary or any judge, but the people must have the right in a democratic society to express their concern and outrage at a society and a system which could produce such an outcome.
Moments just before coming to this RoundTable Conference, I read
the Bernama report, which under the heading REFORM MAY BE NECESSARY, SAYS
ANWAR OF "EXPOSE LAW", bylined Wan A. Hulaimi, states:
"’Certainly this is an area that I think we need to study and undertake reforms,’ he told Malaysian students at a gathering at Malaysia Hall, here, late Thursday night.
"He said this when asked about the decision by the Attorney-General to prosecute DAP Member of Parliament Lim Guan Eng and the three-year sentence imposed on him by the court for his remarks on the alleged sex scandal involving former Melaka Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik.
"Anwar was replying to a question from a law student who asked what answer should he have given to friends who asked about the ‘patent injustice’ of a system which punished a person who exposed alleged wrongdoings but took no action against the person accused.
"’It is a very difficult question. I don't want to be seen to be condoning excesses in the system. It is the decision of the courts. It's beyond us and beyond the government,’ he said.
"’I can't question the wisdom of the courts but I honestly sympathise and understand and appreciate your predicament because it reflects my own personal predicament and I have great difficulty in responding to questions such as this,’ Anwar said.
"He said he was questioned on this in the United States last month and again in Canada earlier this week and here. ‘I am sorry I do not have the answers,’he added.
"During his visit here earlier in the week, Lim Guan Eng, the opposition party's deputy secretary-general and Youth leader, gave an interview on the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Choices’ which described the Malaysian law as ‘draconian’.
"Anwar, who was here on a stopover visit after attending an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum meeting in Canada also asked young Malaysians to act as the "conscience of the majority" in reforming the Malaysian social and economic system.
"This he said was necessary to bring about greater transparency and weed out corruption."
I feel quite encouraged by this report, which was somewhat different from a report which I had read earlier this morning and to which I had responded by way of a press statement.
The fight for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance must be the fight of all Malaysians transcending party politics, race and religion and I hope more Malaysians will come forward to make these values as inherent part of Malaysian nationhood and society.