Guan Eng’s imprisonment is not only  an injustice affecting one person or one community but the Malaysian people as well as  an international shame and dishonour to the Malaysian nation

- at the mammoth Malacca DAP  "Welcome  Lim Guan Eng with honour" dinner  at Pay Fong Chinese Independent Secondary School Hall
Lim Kit Siang 

(Malaccca, Thursday): The Malacca State Barisan Nasional said yesterday that it was confident that the issue of Lim Guan Eng’s imprisonment would not dampen support for the party.

Malacca Chief Minister and Malacca State Barisan Nasional Chairman, Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin said that MCA members would go to the ground to clarify the issue with voters to explain that "Guan Eng’s imprisonment does not affect the entire Chinese community but one individual only".

Abu Zahar cannot be more wrong.  Guan Eng’s imprisonment is not  only  an injustice affecting one person or one community but the Malaysian people as well as  an international shame and dishonour to the Malaysian nation.

It is sad and a measure of how much  Barisan Nasional leaders have become divorced from the ordinary people that they cannot share or even understand why there is a nation-wide sense of joy and relief  at Guan Eng’s release from Kajang Prison yesterday - a feeling felt by Malaysians of all races, religions, political beliefs, gender and age.

For they know that Guan Eng’s incarceration for standing up for the dignity, honour, human rights and women’s rights of a underaged 15-year-old girl victim of statutory rape is not only a travesty of justice, but has brought shame and dishonour to Malaysia’s international reputation.

They are relieved that Guan Eng’s personal suffering in Kajang Prison has ended although this is not the end of the price which Guan Eng has to pay for courageously standing up for justice for a 15-year-old Malay girl, but they know that Guan Eng’s example,  sacrifice and spirit marked something new and great for Malaysia on the threshold of the new millennium - where leaders are prepared to pay the supreme price to protect the rights of the people regardless of race and where the people, regardless of race, are prepared to give full-hearted support to such leaders!

In this sense, ordinary Malaysians are proving that they are more Malaysian-minded than the political leaders in the Barisan Nasional!

The National Day motto this year is  "Bersatu Ke Alaf Baru" - "Unite for the new Millennium".  I fully agree.  The time has come for Malaysians, particularly in the coming general election, to unite regardless of race or religion to ensure that Malaysia enter the new millennium where justice, freedom, democracy and good governance are the order of the day rather than being marginalised into irrelevancy under the Barisan Nasional government.

Ordinary Malaysians of all races understand that Guan Eng’s imprisonment symbolises the injustice of the Malaysian system of governance, and that the issue at stake is not the imprisonment of one man, but the imprisonment of Malaysian justice.

Although Guan Eng has walked out of Kajang Prison after 12 months of imprisonment as a free man, he has become the living symbol of the Malaysian system of  justice in chains and should be the inspiration for all Malaysians to restore justice in Malaysian society.

In the coming general election, voters should use the case of Lim Guan Eng as an acid test as to whether they should support or reject parliamentary and state assembly candidates seeking their votes.

MPs, whether Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and Assemblymen, whether Chief  Minister, Mentri Besar, State Executive Councillors, who dared not say a single word about the injustice of the Lim Guan Eng case do not deserve voter support.   New candidates contesting for the first time should be required to state their stand on the Lim Guan Eng case and should be rejected if they do not have the courage to voice out the feelings of the people that the Lim Guan Eng case is a travesty of justice and the need for a fundamental reform of the system of justice in Malaysia where laws serve justice and not become an engine of oppression and an instrument of injustice.


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