(Malacca, Thursday): The first thing Lim Guan Eng wants me to do when I visited him in Kajang Prisons for the first time yesterday was to ask me to convey to the people of Kota Melaka his regrets and apologies that he could not fulfil the mandate of the voters of Kota Melaka to complete his full term of office as their MP.
He told me that his meagre worldly possessions have been reduced to a toothbrush, a cake of soap,his prison garb of T-shirt and shorts, a towel, a blanket and a pair of slippers.
However, he wanted me to tell all of you that nothing could ever take from him the warmth and support shown to him by the people of Malacca and Malaysia in the over one hundred Support, Sympathy and Solidarity (SSS) with Lim Guan Eng programmes since the Court of Appeal decision on April 1, 1998 increasing the RM15,000 fine to three years’ jail for offences under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act.
He also wanted Malaysians to know that although his body could be imprisoned, his spirit and soul cannot be vanquished and he would always be committed to the cause of justice, truth, freedom, democracy and good governance.
It was exactly 12 years ago that Guan Eng stood in this hall at the Pay Fong Chinese Independent Secondary School to deliver his maiden political speech as DAP candidate for the Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency, and everyone who were present at Guan Eng’s first DAP ceramah would remember how disastrous it was, how he stood on stage to make his public speech in Mandarin and was virtually dumbstruck. The Malacca people did not boo or jeer him. Instead, they encouraged him and asked him to relax, and they fully agreed when I asked the people of Malacca to give Guan Eng a chance to learn and serve the people, state and nation.
I believe Guan Eng had not let the people of Malacca down for the last 12 years. He had continued to make Malacca the proud bastion of the DAP, constantly putting Malacca in the national and international limelight by setting the pace for political change and development not only in Malacca state but in the Malaysian nation.
Only today, the newspaper headlines about the Cabinet decision that the Tanjung Tuan forest reserve on the Malacca-Negri Sembilan border will remain untouched as a wildlife sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 was related to one of his last fights before his parliamentary career was cut short by the Federal Court last Tuesday when he championed Tanjung Tuan forest reserve and wildlife sanctuary and did his utmost to save it.
The saving of Tanjong Tuan forest reserve and wildlife sanctuary is another vindication of his political contribution to the betterment of the Malaysian society, but it cannot be any consolation for ending his political career in jail as a criminal, when he had committed no high crime of arson, armed robbery or murder but was only diligently, conscientiously and courageously discharging his duties as a Member of Parliament when he went to the defence of the honour, women rights and human rights of a 15-year-old on the desperate pleas for help of her grandmother!
It is because Guan Eng had not failed the trust and confidence that the people of Malacca had placed on him 12 years ago that the Kota Melaka parliamentary seat holds the unique and honourable place as the only parliamentary constituency which had voted for the DAP without any break for the past 29 years since the 1969, when the DAP first contested in general elections in Malaysia - the only other constituency with such distinction being the Sitiawan state assembly seat in Perak.
The question is whether the Kota Melaka Parliamentary constituency is to be penalised by having no Member of Parliament for the next one or two years because the voters of Kota Melaka had steadfastly supported the DAP without break for 29 years, the only parliamentary constituency in Malaysia with such a distinction?
I have been accused of nepotism because of Guan Eng’s political performance and record - both inside and outside the party - when in fact, Guan Eng probably suffers greater persecution because he is my son.
In his 12 years in politics, Guan Eng had made many powerful enemies in the ruling parties - not for his own sake and interest, but for the interest of the people and nation in furtherance of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
One of his political enemies was once the most powerful man in Malacca, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik - being Malacca Chief Minister for 12 long years. It may be no coincidence that Rahim Tamby Cik seems to be on the trail of a political come-back in UMNO and national politics, backed by the most powerful political force in the land!
Be that as it may, we are gathered here because of the nation-wide dismay, shock, grief and outrage at the Federal Court decision on August 26 which sent Guan Eng to the Kajang Prisons to begin his jail sentence as a common criminal!
The Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance
has launched a 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:
Do the people of Malacca support the mass signature campaign of the Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance that the Yang di Pertuan Agong pardon Guan Eng so that he would not be disqualified as a Member of Parliament and continue his good work for the people and country?