Guan Eng will take the advice of the Parliament Speaker to learn Arabic and Tamil during his 18-month  prison term in Kajang

- launching of the 18-day Marathon ‘Free Guan Eng" 
Fast in Sungei Chua, Kajang

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Kajang, Thursday): When I met the Speaker of Parliament, Tan Sri Mohamad Ismail Zahir on the position of DAP Deputy Secretary-General, Lim Guan Eng on his position as Member of Parliament for Kota Melaka while serving his prison term in Kajang Prison, the Speaker had suggested that Guan Eng should take up some course while in prison, as for instance learning Arabic.

Guan Eng will take the advice of the Parliament to learn Arabic and Tamil during his 18-month prison term in Kajang.  In fact, Guan Eng has also expressed interest to learn more about the various religions which have made Malaysia their home - whether it be Islam, Christianity, Hindu and Buddhism.

I will welcome help from Malaysians who could advise me how Guan Eng could best learn Arabic and Tamil while in prison, as well as his interest to use his prison term to learn more about the great religions in Malaysia.

I do not know whether there would be any difficulties for Guan Eng to learn Arabic, Tamil and the great religions in Kajang Prisons, but I will be meeting the Kajang Prisons authorities, and if necessary, the Prisons Department Director-General, Datuk Haji Omar bin Mohamad Dan  on these matters.

I want to thank Fan Yew Teng, Irene Fernandez and Ahmad Nor who are inaugurating the 18-day Marathon "Free Guan Eng" fast - which will be by way of a relay for justice-loving Malaysians to show express their dismay, shock, grief and outrage at the injustice of the Lim Guan Eng case.

Lim Guan Eng is now in the third week of his prison term sleeping on cement floor, in solitary confinement in a cell unable to come out for daily exercises and drinking from the water in the cell used for all-purposes not because of any high crime of arson, armed robbery, rape or murder, but because he had diligently, conscientiously and courageously discharged his duties as a Member of Parliament when he sought to defend the honour, women’s rights and human rights of a 15-year-old girl.

One night, Guan Eng woke up from sleep in his cell, which had light on 24-hours a day, with a very uneasy feeling, and found that his body was being used as a bridge by an army of ants transporting a dead cockroach from one side of the cell to another.

For the next 18 days, the Kajang premise of the Marathon Fast will be the centre of the "Free Guan Eng" campaign and all justice-loving Malaysians are invited here to show their support, sympathy and solidarity with Guan Eng.  We also welcome Malaysians  to join in the Marathon Fast to demonstrate the intensity of the sense of dismay, shock, grief and outrage at the injustice of the Lim Guan Eng case.

At any one time, there will be three persons taking part in the Marathon Fast. It is up to every individual to decide on the length of the fast, which will be in multiples of 36 hours, to symbolise the 36-month jail sentence passed on Guan Eng - i.e. for 36 hours, 72 hours or 108 hours.

Programmes would be organised every day during the 18-day Marathon "Free Guan Eng" Fast, including candle vigils from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night, for the people to show their support, sympathy and solidarity with Lim Guan Eng.

Since the unjust conviction and sentence of Guan Eng, there has been a nation-wide groundswell of support, sympthy and solidarity with Guan Eng, as evidenced  by the seven-night Candlelight Vigil for Justice for Lim Guan Eng outside Federal Court from August 25-31 as well as Candlight  Vigils for Justice in Penang and Malacca, the first batch of 203,993 signatures in ten days appealing 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 his good work for people and country, and the various "Free Guan Eng" public meetings and gatherings.

The 18-day Marathon "Free Guan Eng" Fast coincides with the launching of the second phase of the mass signature campaign, which aims to collect a second batch of 200,000 signatures in a month.

Guan Eng in prison should be a daily reminder to Malaysians of the need for greater public consciousness and activism to help bring about justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for all Malaysians.

This of course includes justice for Anwar Ibrahim, whose shocking and unprecedented sacking as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is another travesty of justice.

Anwar has been accused of the most heinous of crimes like sexual misconduct, corruption, sedition, murder and treason, but no specific charges have yet been levelled against Anwar in the courts of law.

Anwar supports my proposal for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into all the serious allegations which have been made against  him  as well as the equally serious allegations which Anwar have made that the instruments of government have been manipulated in a political conspiracy to topple him as Deputy Prime Minister.

Why is the Prime Minister not prepared for a full public inquiry into these very serious allegations by way of a Royal Commission of Inquiry?

The sacking of a Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister is not a personal private matter but an important affair of state.  Why is Mahathir unwilling to convene an emergency meeting of Parliament to give a full and satisfactory explanation of the unprecedented sacking and to answer Anwar’s charges that his sacking was related to his position when in government in standing up for justice and fighting corruption and cronyism?


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