(Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday 12.30am): I have just come from a "Redeem Justice, Free Guan Eng" public meeting at Tambun Inn, Ipoh.
The seven-night Candlelight Vigil for Justice for Lim Guan Eng, which started on August 25 - the black day for justice and democracy for Malaysia when the Federal Court confirmed the Court of Appeal conviction and 36-month jail sentence for Lim Guan Eng under the Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Publications Act - ends on midnight.
Every night, larger and larger numbers of Malaysians gathered outside Federal Court to express their dismay, shock, grief and outrage that Guan Eng is now languishing in Kajang Prisons as a common criminal, not because he had committed any high crime of arson, rape, armed robbery or murder but because he had conscientiously, diligently and courageously discharged his duties as a Member of Parliament in defending the honour, women rights and human rights of a 15-year-old girl in response to the desperate pleas of her grandmother who had nobody else to turn to for help.
Although Guan Eng has to sleep on the cold cement floor in Kajang Prisons, separated from his wife, three children, his parents and siblings, face disqualification as Member of Parliament and as DAP Deputy Secretary-General, as well as destruction of his professional career as a certified accountant, the unprecedented seven-night Candlelight Vigil for Justice by ever-increasing number of Malaysians every night, to reach a thousand people at its height, will help Guan Eng to withstand the cold of the cement floor and the rigours of prison life as a common criminal.
In actual fact, Guan Eng should not be languishing as a common criminal
in Kajang Prisons but should be honoured and held up as an model not only
for all Malaysians but also for Malaysian political leaders on the occasion
of the 41st National Day for two reasons:
The nation-wide mass signature campaign launched by the Council for Justice, Freedom, Democracy and Good Governance in the last few days have received good reponse from Malaysians, and if there is enough time, say five to six months, it should not be too difficult to aim for a target of one million signatures.
However, the first deadline for the mass signature campaign is Saturday midnight of Sept. 5, as it is proposed to present the first batch of signatures to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on Monday, September 7, 1998. This is because September 8 is the two-week deadline for a petition for pardon to be submitted to the Yang di Pertuan Agong if Guan Eng’s status as Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka is still to be maintained - until the disposal of the pardon petition by the Yang di Pertuan Agong.
As normally it would take about a week or two before all the mechanics for the nation-wide signature campaign, such as organisation, publicity and manpower, could get on track, it would be very difficult to get a presentable number of signatures when there are only five days left. It would be most "unpresentable", for instance, if in the first batch of signatures, there are only 5,000 or 10,000 signatures, or even 15,000 or 20,000 signatures.
This necessitates the campaign departing from the traditional methods of signature campaign of getting one signature at a time, and to resort to "smart" methods of a mass signature campaign where Malaysians come forward not only to append their signatures but to take signature books to collect signatures from their neighbours, colleagues and friends.
If every "Free Guan Eng" volunteer can collect 100, 200 or 300 signatures by Sept. 5, then at least, there would be a presentable number of signatures in the first round of the "Pardon Guan Eng" signature campaign when the signatures are totalled after Sept. 5 midnight.