Guan Eng replies to Anwar: Prison authorities in Kajang making feverish preparations for Anwar’s cell though his trial is still continuing

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Although DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng is suffering multiple ailments in his sixth month of incarceration in Kajang Prison, having chronic backache, migraine and inflammation of the nose - all ailments he never complained before being jailed -  his spirits are high and unbowed.

He has replied to Anwar, who wrote to him from Sungai Buloh Prison in a letter dated 13th January 1999 where the former Deputy Prime Minister said that "In some ways, our incarceration has helped open the eyes of Malaysians to the injustices in our system, and thereby, to rouse them from their complacency and encourage them to participate more meaningfully in the political process" and that "the tide and clamour for reform is irreversible".

In Guan Eng’s reply dated 28th January 1999 from Kajang Prison to Anwar in Sungai Buloh Prison, the imprisoned DAP Member of Parliament intimated that the prison authorities in Kajang were making feverish preparations for Anwar’s  cell even though his trial was still continuing.

Guan Eng said: "I believe our passion for truth and justice will not be diminished by our incarceration. Instead, the adversities we encounter shall only strengthen our resolve as well as serve to open up the minds of Malaysians to the iniquities of those who rule in their name."

Guan Eng added that "The cry of reformasi, and its antithesis of corruption, cronyism and nepotism, is equally a cry for justice".

Guan Eng’s reply to Anwar reads:

Saudara Anwar Ibrahim,

I have just received your letter that was finally delivered to me via a ‘circuitous’ route that I hope you will not need to discover. Allow me first to extend my belated Selamat Hari Raya greetings from my family and salute the courage and resilience of your wife and children in defying the powers f oppression.

Reading your recollections of our first fiery introduction has made me pause and reflect on how we have been pulled and pushed by the ebb and flow of history. We took divergent paths and were headed  towards the opposite end of the political spectrum. Yet, both of us ended in prison - victims of injustice and gross abuse of power.

Through it all, despite our differences, I sense that we both share the same  reforming zeal - reforming the political system to make government more accountable, to make democracy more participatory and make our political culture more ethical and moral.

The cry of reformasi, and its antithesis of corruption, cronyism and nepotism, is equally a cry for justice. It has struck a resonant chord because ordinary Malaysians are fed-up of being lied at, bullied about  and worst of all, have their intelligence openly insulted. Malaysians are not interested in political partisanship but just want truth and justice.

All of us want to raise our children believing in truth and justice, not see these fundamental values trampled upon by the ruling clique in the name of national interest. This is what makes the reformasi challenge so sustaining and leaves the government completely confused.

For too long, the government has been allowed to treat truth as merely to spin and justice as mere rhetoric. An example of such spin is when reformasi is equated with demonstrations bringing about violence, chaos and social disorder.

This is  a desperate tactic to prevent the success of reformasi so that corruption endemic within the government and crony capitalism can be saved. The myriad multi-billion ringgit Perwaja scandals, Bank Negara foreign exchange losses, Bank Bumiputra scandals and the notorious toll increases are just the tip of the iceberg.

BN knows that if corruption is not eliminated, then the country will be destroyed. But if corruption is successfully eliminated, then BN will be destroyed. The choice is clear - self-reservation at all costs.

Where is justice when a rape victim can be detained for about three years whilst her rapists need not spend even a single day in jail? Where is justice when a MP who speaks up against such moral outrage is punished by imprisonment?

In fact, I am not surprised that the prison authorities here in Kajang are making feverish preparations for your cell even though your trial is still continuing. One is curious how they can be so certain of your impending conviction.

I believe our passion for truth and justice will not be diminished by our incarceration. Instead, the adversities we encounter shall only strengthen our resolve as well as serve to open up the minds of Malaysians to the iniquities of those who rule in their name.

The brutal physical assault on your person coupled with the government’s bungling attempts to cover-up remains one of the most defining moments in Malaysian political history when the government’s cloak of decency and humanity was stripped naked. The Government has lost any semblance of its moral mandate.

Whether its legal mandate will be lost will depend on our  success in allaying the people’s fears that reformasi will bring forth violence, instability or a forcible deprivation of established rights of certain communities. The people must be assured that  reformasi can engender positive changes that improve our national well-being, moral fibre and spiritual development.

We underestimate the effectiveness of the government’s propaganda and genius for survival at our peril. Our success is crucially reliant on our ability to address the issue of the ‘Great Divide’ of race and religion, the raison d’être of BN’s rule. Unless we transcend the racial and religious boundaries, the people will fall prey once again to BN’s twin weapons of fear and falsehood.

I have tried in my own small way to meet the problem head-on in my defence of a Malay schoolgirl who was first raped , then violated a second time by the wheels of injustice. As you have indicated this has opened up the eyes of Malays to the web of lies and deceit that DAP is anti-Malay.

Hopefully, my actions can contribute towards creating a new Malaysian consciousness where a Chinese is willing to sacrifice to help a fellow Malay and vice-versa in the name of truth, justice and a common citizenry. Which is in direct contrast to the ‘Great Divide’ of BN where Malay MPs only help Malays, Chinese MPs only  Chinese and Indian MPs only Indians.

To this end, the DAP is conducting a ‘Justice For All’ campaign premised on 10 Essential Freedom (attached) to realise a new Malaysian consciousness. We hope that this bridge across the ‘Great Divide’ will encourage more bridges to be built.

Your role in translating the ideals and vision of Reformasi into truth, justice and a new Malaysian consciousness will be most critical. Many Malaysians share in your dream of ÎÒÃǶ¼ÊÇÒ»¼ÒÈË(We are all in one family) and are willing to cross the bridge with you.

If we fail, we do not fail only in closing the ‘Great Divide’ that separates us but forever remain a divided nation. We must not fail if we do not want to see our nation turn from belonging to all into that which belongs only to one; from ÎÒÃǶ¼ÊÇÒ»¼ÒÈË (We are all in one family) into ÕâÊÇÎÒÃÇÒ»¼ÒÈ赀 (All in one family).

We cannot fail if we do our duty with faith and assistance from the Divine Being. For has it not been said that truth and justice are the closest thing there is to God - Those who strive for its fruition are faithfully doing God’s work.

May the peace of God resides in your heart always. Salam Keadilan dan Kebenaran!

Lim Guan Eng
Penjara Kajang
28th Januari 1999


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