(Malacca, Monday): DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Guan Eng, will be completing his fourth month in jail on Christmas Day on Friday. He has lost some 20 pounds since his incarceration on August 25 and developed a back pain which I fear might trouble him for life.
The past four months had been a most trying and difficult period for Guan Eng. The enforced separation from his family and loved ones had been as painful for his family members as it had been for him. Of course, the loss of personal liberty for Guan Eng had been devastating.
The physical, emotional and mental sufferings Guan Eng had to endure as a prisoner was quite unexpected. It is soul-destroying for a parliamentarian to be thrown into prison and treated like a common criminal for a crime he did not commit nor even considered as constituting a crime.
Only his abiding and unshakeable faith that he had tried to do right, correct injustice and uphold the truth enabled Guan Eng to maintain a sense of balance and proportion to face all the daily rigours, indignities and humiliations of prison life as a common criminal.
Guan Eng is holding firm to the belief that he is no criminal when all he had tried to do was to help Puan Pendek binti Ahmad, a poor, old and illiterate lady seek justice for her granddaughter who had been raped. And he harmed no one when he questioned why the police detained the rape victim, a minor, but not her rapists.
He harmed no one when he demanded that women’s rights be respected, not violated, so that rape victims are protected instead of being punished and rapists imprisoned instead of being set free.
To Guan Eng, the central issue is still justice or rather the lack of it, which allows the rape victim and the parliamentarian who exposes it to be detained and imprisoned whilst the rapists get away scot-free.
Even though Guan Eng will likely be disqualified as MP with loss of all financial benefits and his political career terminated, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he tried to fulfil his role as a MP to the best of his ability.
He believes that If his imprisonment is necessary to prevent such perversion of justice, where the rape victim is punished, whilst the rapists are unpunished, from occurring again - then he had done his duty and he had no regrets and his conscience is clear.
He told me that it is this knowledge which allowed him to sleep tranquilly at night, even in prison. And dream dreams - dreams of a better Malaysia.
His dream is a dream of a social democratic Malaysia founded upon ten essential freedoms.
One, the freedom of full and effective participation in democracy to create a healthy, meaningful and functioning democratic culture.
Two, freedom from inequality to ensure that there is no mockery of the concept of equality before the law - so that there is no selective prosecutions and double-standards between the rich and poor or based on political considerations.
Three, freedom from corruption which is essential to economic prosperity, productivity and financial well-being. Cronyism, nepotism and money politics must end.
Four, freedom from fear to protect, promote and preserve basic human rights and prevent abuses by an oppressive and repressive government.
Five, freedom from want which is vital to ensure that all can enjoy economic wealth - that in pursuing economic prosperity, we must not forget existing social inequities and the poor especially poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and economic imbalances.
Six, freedom of religious belief in recognition of our cultural and religious diversity that makes up our Malaysian nation.
Seven, freedom of opportunity must be given to every Malaysian to realise his or her full potential - including groups that were disadvantaged historically which must first be assisted to allow them to compete equally with other groups.
Eight, freedom of telecommunications realises the importance of IT to the economic survival and prosperity of Malaysia in the New Millennium.
Nine, the freedom to preserve and promote family values and social order which is crucial to a stable, prosperous, moral and democratic society.
Ten, the freedom from environmental degradation to uphold the right to a clean, healthy, natural and quality life.
This may be the dream of one prisoner in Kajang Prison, but it can also be the dream of all Malaysians who cherish their rights, know their responsibilities and understand their obligations of Malaysian citizenship.
Let the DAP throughout the country disseminate Guan Eng’s Malaysian
Dream of Ten Essential Freedoms as an important part of the national movement
for political reform.
Let Guan Eng’s Malaysian Dream from Kajang Prison of "Ten Essential Freedoms" be the Dream of all Malaysians for the new millennium