(Ayer Hitam, Sunday): Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim have become two most outstanding international examples of rank injustices in the Malaysian system of governance.
If an elected Member of Parliament has to be jailed for defending the honour, human rights and women’s rights of an underaged 15-year-old girl from statutory rape and a person who until recently held the high office of Deputy Prime Minister could be assaulted while under police custody in the inner sanctum of the police high command that he still spotted a black eye and other bruises ten days later, Malaysians are entitled to ask how they could expect justice and fair play under the Malaysian sun.
This is why the DAP has launched a nation-wide "Justice For All" Campaign, not just for the sake of Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim but for 21 million Malaysians, and not just about legal justice, but justice in the most comprehensive sense - whether political, economic, educational, social, cultural, legal or religious.
Anwar Ibrahim, who is detained at the Sungai Buloh Prison has sent Chinese New Year greetings to Guan Eng who is jailed at Kajang Prison, sharing his views about rank injustices in Malaysia.
In his letter, Anwar wrote:
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. I am sure that you are aware that since our misfortunes, even housewives and schoolchildren have begun to question whether there is democracy and justice in Malaysia. Our battle for a more informed political consciousness among Malaysians is already half won. Take heart in the knowledge that a growing number of Malaysians do recognise your contribution to the struggle for reform of our political and judicial systems.
There is a growing disillusionment or even disenchantment with the ruling clique and their state apparatus. If the alternative press - that is, the organs of the opposition parties, NGO’s and the Internet - is anything to go by, the government has lost a tremendous amount of credibility and the state apparatus, including the police and the judiciary, has been badly bruised due to their ill-conceived campaign against critics and the opposition. What is most gratifying to me is that many grassroots Malays are no longer passive followers and are seeking alternative views. Your sincere fight for the downtrodden, regardless of their ethnic origin, has woken Malaysians to the fact that a bigoted attitude only helps corrupt politicians to remain in power and retards any effort towards reform.
When I attended the Kajang vigil in your honour, the Mahathir-controlled media, as expected, saw it as an opportunity to go on a frenzied attack, accusing me of being a turncoat to the Malay cause, little realizing that it is no longer easy to fool the public in the information age. Dr. Mahathir is contemplating on how to ensure the ‘multimedia’ strategy works while keeping Malaysians ignorant. Its a formidable task indeed! Unlike the crony-editors, they see the Guan Eng issue in its proper light - that it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with justice.
Even overseas Malaysians are, more than ever, expressing their concern
about the corruption in our system. When I was in London in May last
year, a Malaysian student had some questions regarding your case. I made
it clear even then, as a DPM, that I was not prepared to defend the decision
of the court to sentence you to jail. I confessed to the students
of my predicament and in the same breath, called for legal reform.
Although I had no intention of interfering in the judicial process, I could
not reconcile my principles with the decision of the court to punish a
man for championing the cause of a rape victim while it let the alleged
criminal go scot-free. By the way, Azizah told me that in Tg. Karang
last week, she referred to your case and appealed to Malays to support
your cause in the name of justice. As a Muslim, the issues of truth and
justice are of paramount importance, for the Holy Quran says:
You may recall our meeting at Parliament lobby with YB Kit Siang when I expressed my sympathies to you. A deputy minister appeared and blurted a preposterous remark: "Good for you, you’ll get more popular this way!" I reprimanded him for his ignorance, insensitivity and total disregard for justice. Now, with such sycophants in Parliament and the Government, we should rightfully demand for political reform.
Again, the tide and clamour for reform is irreversible. I’ve never witnessed such enthusiasm, dedication to disseminate information, pushing for ‘conscientisation’ - public awareness of fundamental issues of justice and liberty. Perplexed by public outrage, the ruling clique and particularly Dr. Mahathir, feeling insecure garnered all instruments of government, chiefly the police force to intimidate, harass and in fact, detain, or brutally attack reformasi leaders and peaceful demonstrators. The harassment by Special Branch officers against ADIL still continue.
They have of course not exhausted their schemes and machinations. You have seen the vilification in the media and the unfolding court (sperm, mattress, amended charges) drama. Then, you have the foreign bogey. Our forefathers fought against colonial power for freedom and justice and not to be replaced by indigenous oppressors. Its quite paradoxical for the so-called ardent nationalists to use the same draconian colonial laws to stifle dissent and opposition. What is absolutely clear to my mind is using the perceived threat to deflect from the real issue of corruption, cronyism and nepotism, The other colonial strategy adopted by the ruling clique is divide et empera, by instilling fear among the various ethnic groups and using racial bigotry. Change or reform for them means instability and racial tension. Our people must be encouraged to trust in their ability and maturity and not to be duped into thinking that their very survival depend on the corrupt elements squandering billions for their families and cronies. This is our major challenge to transcend from the politics of race to enhancing and protecting the dignity of man. Wasn’t it virtue that all our sages and Kung Fu Tze talked about? Let us be more resilient and persevere to give credence to: "Women tu tse ii chia ren".
There are encouraging developments too. Tan Sri Rahim Nor resigned but it should not absolve Dr. Mahathir of responsibility as Home Minister. Hopefully, the police will learn from this episode, particularly its senior officers and the Special Branch. They are not the private apparatus of Dr. Mahathir. The Cabinet reshuffle and appointment are based on unacceptable criteria of a despot ie. absolute loyalty, weak, servile and subservient. You observe the bowing and kissing of the hands not of His Majesty the King but the de facto Ruler. But what is appalling is the appointment of Tun Daim as Finance Minister; a man known to have amassed wealth whilst in office and manipulated the market. What other known qualifications except to reward the most reliable person to protect one’s family and cronies. I have repeated my challenge to expose all major contracts awarded and shares allocated by Tun Daim and me at the MOF. I have not allocated one single share or contract to any member of my family, Our local media, including the billionaire editor conveniently ignored the statement.