(Penang, Saturday): When I visited Lim Guan Eng in Kajang Prisons for the first time, he asked me to convey to the people of Penang and Malaysia his heart-felt thanks for their support and good wishes in his hour of trial.
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 Penang 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.
Inside Kajang Prisons, Guan Eng has become a nameless person - for everyone
who is in jail or even detention centre is not known by his name, but by
his number. Guan Eng’s number of 6561/98, and his poem, which is a deep
cry from inside Kajang Prisons from his soul for justice, truth and freedom,
is as follows:
My eyes cry but there are no tears,
My heart bleeds but there is no blood,
My lungs breathe but there is no air,
And where have all the doctors gone?
The sun shines but there is no light,
The moon burns but there is no heat,
The wind blows but there is no breeze,
And where have all the stars gone?
You are in prison, you fool!
Soulless, heartless and compassionless,
Why speak of freedom when four walls surround you,
And where have all the people gone?
But I am free, still free,
If not in body, still free in spirit and soul,
Even barbed wires cannot contain nor restrain,
And where all my conscience is still here
Free with me!
Free with me!
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 25 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 Penang 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 can continue his good work for the people and country?
Guan Eng cherishes the responsibility and office of a Member of Parliament, for he believes he can best serve the people and work for the betterment of the Malaysian society as an elected Member of Parliament.
This was why one of his last acts in the final minutes of his freedom after the Federal Court had confirmed the Court of Appeal decision of 36 months’ jail and before he was taken away in handcuffs from the court straight to Kajang Prisons to start his jail sentence, he embraced his family members and bid them goodbye. He did one other thing - he took off his coat and tie, and before putting them in the care of his wife, Betty Chew, kissed the coat-pin with the emblem of Parliament - for which he had given up his comfortable and cushy future as a banker 12 years ago.
Under Article 48(4) of the Malaysian Constitution, Guan Eng is still MP for Kota Melaka for another 14 days from the Federal Court decision on August 25 - i.e. till September 8, 1998 - unless there is a petition for a pardon, in which case, he will only be disqualified as MP for Kota Melaka when the petition has been disposed of.