Denial of Barisan Nasional parliamentary two-thirds majority in next general elections is the first important step to arrest serious erosion of civil and human rights

- Penang  DAP Legal Advisory Bureau (LAB) inaugural forum 
" Law & Justice"

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): In the United States, thinking Americans are worried that the painful, slow and embarrassing impeachment process of the President  Clinton will not only result in diminishing the credibility of the American Presidency both at home and abroad, but also in undermining the international image of the United States.

In Malaysia, many Malaysians are also very concerned about the long-term consequences of the Anwar Ibrahim trial, over and above the issue of the future of Anwar Ibrahim himself.

Let me refer to two postings on the Internet in the past few days in response to the long-running Anwar Ibrahim trial.

The first one three days ago  by a non-Malay Malaysian, who maintains a very high-profile Internet presence, confessed that he had  been "discreetly silent" on the Anwar trial as "I honestly believe that this is but part of the Malay leadership struggle for which a Chinese Malaysian, although being affected by the eventual outcome, should not comment too strongly or loudly."

He went on:  "But yesterday's charade of parading the mattress and front-paged on both the NST and Star today really scrapes the bottom of the muck-barrel.

He ended his posting by saying that he was "weeping for Malaysia".

The second posting, also three days ago,  is by a well-known Malay journalist/writer under the title "The Politics of Contempt", where he started with the following:

He wrote:

I submit that these two views, one by a non-Malay and another by a Malay, sum up the widespread concerns of many thinking Malaysians and this is why I would say that it is not merely  justice which is on trial, whether in the Lim Guan Eng, Irene Fernandez, Anwar Ibrahim, Sukma, Munawar, Tommy Thomas, Param Cumaraswamy or Zainur Zakaria cases, the whole system of  governance in Malaysia is on trial.  In fact, we are struggling with the very soul of the Malaysian nation.

An incontrovertible fact in Malaysia is that civil and human rights in Malaysia had suffered a process of unceasing erosion - to the extent that public confidence in the system of justice and democratic governance in the country had been seriously undermined.

This was why I had told the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad during the Parliamentary meeting at the end of September that under his administration, Malaysia does not have "rule of law" but only "rule by law".

This is the result of the merciless concentration of power by the executive at the expense of other branches of government, whether the legislature or the judiciary, making a complete mockery of the doctrine of the separation of powers.

The most important first step to arrest the erosion of civil and human rights in Malaysia and restore public confidence in the system of justice and democratic governance is for Malaysians to deny the Barisan Nasional its traditional parliamentary two-thirds majority in the next general elections to uphold the principle of accountability, transparency and democratic responsibility.


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