Guan Eng should be honoured as the first and only political leader in the country’s history to be prepared to sacrifice himself for the rights of a Malaysian of another race rather than being victimised

- launching "Justice For All" campaign in Sarawak

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Sibu, Monday): The DAP has launched a nation-wide year-long "Justice For All" campaign to ensure that Malaysians will enjoy justice, freedom, democracy and good governance when the country enters the new millennium.

If there is justice in Malaysia, DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, will not be languishing in Kajang Prison, losing 22 pounds after five months of incarceration, his back wrecked for life as a result of having to sleep on the hard cold cement floor without any mattress for over a month in Kajang Prison, and developing multiple ailments like migraine and sinus problems which he never suffered before.

If there is justice in Malaysia, former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would not have been assaulted by the police while under police custody in the very inner sanctum of the police high command in Bukit Aman until he had a "black eye", with no leads as to who were the police person or persons responsible for such a heinous crime.

If there is justice in Malaysia, thousands of Malaysians regardless of  race, religion and party affiliation would not have protested at the  toll plazas all over Peninsular Malaysia against unfair highway privatisation concessions and unfair highway tolls.

The "Justice For All" campaign is not just to secure  justice for Guan Eng, Anwar Ibrahim or motorists but justice  for all  21 million Malaysians, in all aspects of life, whether political, economic, educational, social, cultural, religious, legal or human rights.

Guan Eng’s case is a badge of shame for Malaysia, where a Member of Parliament could be jailed for courageously and conscientiously speaking up to protect the honour, women’s rights and human rights of an underaged 15-year-old girl, victim of statutory rape where the accused is the most powerful government political leader in the state.

Guan Eng is the first political leader in the 42-year history of the nation who paid the supreme sacrifice of being jailed and losing his parliamentary status for fighting for the fundamental rights of a Malaysian citizen of another race.

Is there another such case in the country, where a political leader is prepared, regardless of consequences,  to stand up for the rights of a Malaysian of another race?  There is none, which is a sad reflection of the failure of Malaysian nation-building in the past four decades.

 Guan Eng should be honoured for being the first and only political leader in the country’s history who is prepared to sacrifice himself for the rights of a Malaysian of another race rather than being victimised.

Last month, the "15-year-old victim" who is of course no more underaged, appeared publicly for the first time at a DAP forum on "Law and Justice" to express her great regrets that Guan Eng should be languishing in jail for taking up her cause and appealed to the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Malacca State Governor to pardon Guan Eng so that he could return to his parliamentary role to champion the weak, defenceless and the oppressed.

Last Friday, the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Abdul Kadir bin Sheik Fadzir said he had visited Guan Eng in his cell in Kajang Prison two days earlier, denied that Guan Eng had lost 10 kg in jail and claimed that Guan Eng was very happy with his condition in jail and had no complaints. What is worse, Abdul Kadir gave the impression that Guan Eng was receiving five-star hotel treatment in the Kajang Prison.

Who is  so naïve as to believe that there  could be any prisoner who could feel happy with his condition in jail - let alone Guan Eng who is the victim of one of the greatest injustices in Malaysian history, particularly when the Malaysian prisons fall far short of the international minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners in the country’s prisons?

This morning, a freshly-released prisoner from Kajang, Teh Hock Yong, 38, a MCA branch leader in Selangor, had appeared at a media conference in Petaling Jaya  to give personal testimony of the Kajang Prison conditions as he worked in the prison kitchen and sent food  to Guan Eng’s Block Asingan.  Teh had met Guan Eng before both were imprisoned and he testified that Guan Eng had  lost considerable weight in Kajang Prison.

We want justice not only for Guan Eng, but justice for all the prisoners whether in Kajang or other prisons in the country as they have the right to be treated as human beings.  In fact, the "Justice For All" campaign upholds  the right of every Malaysian to justice in its widest sense, covering political, economic, educational, social, cultural, religious, legal as well as   human rights.  It also includes the right of communities, social groups and even states, whether Sarawak, Sabah or  Penang to justice.

In Penang, the "Justice For All" campaign has been launched in eight of the 11 Parliamentary constituencies and is entering the second phase where it would be launched in each of the 33 state assembly constituencies.

With the launching of the "Justice For All" campaign in the state of Sarawak, I call on Sarawakians to join Malaysians in other states to make the campaign a success and assure for this generation and future generations justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.


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