(Penang, Sunday): The Inter-Parliamentary Union at its Moscow Conference last month has expresed its support for the pardon petition for DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng who is currently serving two concurrent counts of 18-month jail sentence in Kajang Prison under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act.
The IPU is expected to send a mission to Malaysia to investigate into the jailing of Guan Eng and the violation of his human rights as a Member of Parliament on October 21-23 as a result of the 100th Inter-Parliamentary Conference held in Moscow last month.
I have been informed by Ingeborg Schwarz, the Human Rights Programme Officer of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in an email from the IPU office in Geneva that the IPU Conference in Moscow reiterated its resolution at the IPU Conference in Windohoek, Nambibia in April this year to send an on-site mission to Malaysia on the Lim Guan Eng case "in view of the important issues involved in the case" and that the IPU on-site mission to Malaysia had been welcomed by the Malaysian delegation to the Moscow conference.
The IPU Conference in Moscow adopted a lengthy resolution on the Lim
Guan Eng case, which concluded with the following nine-point decision:
"1. Thanks the Malaysian delegation for its co-operation and the information it has provided;
"2. Is shocked at the decision of the Federal Court to uphold the judgment of the Appeal Court resulting in the forfeiture of Mr. Lim Guan Eng’s parliamentary mandate;
"3. Can but reiterate its conviction that, in making the offending statements, Mr. Lim Guan Eng was merely exercising his right to freedom of speech and his function of oversight of the Executive, which must include inquiring into and, if deemed necessary, criticising the administration of justice;
"4. Is deeply concerned at the harshness of the judgment and the limits it sets on freedom of speech and on the right and duty of the elected representatives of the people to exercise their essential function of oversight of the Executive;
"5. Reaffirms that in discharging their oversight function, Parliaments help to ensure the independent and impartial functioning of justice;
"6. Notes that, according to the Malaysian delegation, the Governor - by delegation of authority of the King - may grant Mr. Lim Guan Eng full pardon, giving him a clean slate and enabling him to retain his parliamentary seat; notes that, according to the Malaysian delegation, such an appeal has been lodged by an opposition MP; and requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to act in support of that appeal;
"7. Requests the Committee to proceed with the mission it had entrusted to it at its 162nd session in Windhoek in April 1998, and notes with satisfaction the statement of the Malaysian delegation that such a mission would be most welcome;
"8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the leader of the Malaysian delegation, inviting them to ensure that the mission of the Committee can be received in Malaysia in the very near future;
"9. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (April 1999)."
The Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance which collected 203,933 signatures during the first ten days of Guan Eng’s jailing in Kajang Prisons appealing to the Yang di Pertuan Agong to pardon Guan Eng so that he would not be disqualified as Member of Parliament and could continue his good work for the people as country and the National Free Guan Eng Committee (previously the Support, Sympathy and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng Committee) will meet to discuss preparations to facilitate the IPU on-site mission on Guan Eng’s incarceration.
This will be the second time that the IPU is sending a fact-finding mission to Malaysia to investigate into the violation of human rights of Members of Parliament - the first time was ten years ago during the Operation Lalang when I met the IPU fact-finding mission during my second detention under the Internal Security Act at the Kamunting Detention Centre.