Guan Eng is full and legal Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka until Sept. 8, and even after that date, if there is a petition for pardon to the Yang di Pertuan Agong

- 2nd "Redeem Justice, Free Guan Eng" Candle-light Vigil

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Kuala Lumpur,  Wednesday): There has been an outpouring of dismay, shock, grief and  outrage  at the Federal Court decision on August 25 confirming the Court of Appeal decision of conviction and 36-month jail  sentence on DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, for offences under the Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act.

DAP Deputy National Chairman and MP for Jelutong, Karpal Singh, who is counsel for Guan Eng, made the most impressive and masterful submission that I have ever seen in court, and I am shocked that the Federal Court did not give it full, serious and thorough consideration and could make a decision on Guan Engís case in less than two hours after the end of Karpalís submission.

Guan Eng was on trial on August 25. So was the Federal Court and the system of justice.  I cannot say that the Federal Courtís conduct of the Lim Guan Eng case has  enhanced public confidence in the system of justice in Malaysia.

The public outpouring of dismay, shock, grief and outrage is even greater this time than during the Court of Appeal decision on April 1, 1998, as the people had placed their trust and hope in the Federal Court to  "Keep Justice Alive, Keep Guan Eng Free".

One Malaysian student phoned up all the way from Vancouver just to personally convey his shock and outrage at the Federal Court decision and his support and solidarity with Guan Eng in his hour of travail.

I received many calls from comrades and supporters who were just crying over the phone.

Except for a tiny minority, I believe that Malaysia was  a land of very heavy hearts when news of the Federal Court decision to confirm the Court of Appeal decision, sending Guan Eng immediately to begin his jail sentence at  Kajang Prisons, shocked and electrified the country.

Although Guan Eng is now in Kajang Prisons, and he wants to  thank all Malaysians who have rallied to him in the over 100 Support, Sympathy and Solidarity (SSS) with Lim Guan Eng programmes in the past four-and-a-half months, Guan Eng is fully and legally still Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka, at least until Sept. 8.

He will continue to be the Kota Melaka Member of Parliament, although incarcerated in the Kajang Prisons, if by Sept. 8, there is an petition for pardon to the Yang di Pertuan Agong until the petition is rejected.

I must confess that I had overlooked this constitutional amendment and I had all along thought that Guan Eng would have been disqualified as Member of Parliament from the time the Federal Court confirms the Court of Appeal judgement of 36-month jail.

This raises the question as to whether there should be a petition for pardon to the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

There have been conflicting views among party leaders and members, and I am sure among members of the public, on this question because a petition for pardon implies certain admission of guilt.

ALIRAN has called on the Yang di Pertuan Agong to grant a full pardon to Guan Eng on 31 August 1998 in the interest of justice, which  would be something that many Malaysians would welcome on this auspicious day.

Tonight, the Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance is launching its nation-wide mass signature campaign for the people to appeal to the Yang di Pertuan Agong to pardon Lim Guan Eng so that he would not be disqualified as a Member of Parliament and could continue to serve the nation and people, for the following reasons:

The peopleís petition said:

"Guan Engís disqualification as a Member of Parliament in these circumstances will be a loss to Parliament and the nation.

"In contrast, his pardon would have the positive effect of promoting greater national unity and instilling a greater common sense of purpose, two prerequisites to restore confidence if Malaysia is overcome the worst economic crisis in the nationís history."

This is the time for the people of all races, religions, languages and cultures to stand up and express their feelings on the Lim Guan Eng case - to make clear that this is a  case of patent injustice which justice-loving Malaysians cannot remain indifferent and to do something to "Redeem Justice, Free Guan Eng".


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