People of Malaysia must use the next general elections to pass a verdict on Guan Engís case and strike a blow for  justice


Speech
- Malacca DAP "Justice For All" Ceramah

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Kota Melaka, Saturday):  Lim Guan Eng has asked me to convey his  deepest apologies to the voters of Kota Melaka that he cannot fulfil their trust and complete his third term as their Member of Parliament following the rejection of his pardon petition to the Yang di Pertua Negeri, Malacca and the Yang di Pertuan Agong, despite the support of 300,000 Malaysians regardless of race, religion or gender for the petition.

The people of Malacca and Malaysia must use the next general elections to  strike a blow for justice and pass a verdict on whether Guan Engís case -  whether they want a restoration of justice so that a Member of Parliament who courageously and diligently discharged his parliamentary duties to defend the honour, dignity, womenís rights and human rights of an underaged girl victim of statutory rape is not  persecuted and prosecuted, jailed, disqualified as a Member of Parliament and disenfranchised of his citizenship right to stand and hold elective office for five years from the date he is released from jail.

In Malaysia today, there are mounting examples of the lack of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, which must be traced to the dominant position of the ruling coalition in Parliament - and the fact that ever since Merdeka in 1957, the ruling coalition, whether Barisan Nasional or its predecessor the Alliance, had never lost control of two-thirds majority in Parliament.

This has created a political culture where openness, accountability, transparency, competence and integrity are not accorded a premium position or even regarded as pillars of  the system of governance and justice.

This is why the outrageous persecution of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is still going on.

It is because of such a culture of incompetence, indifference and unaccountability that Malaysians are suffering from a variety of unnecessary and avoidable disasters - including the worst viral outbreak disaster which has killed over 100 people.  Even now, the Ministry of Health and government authorities are talking about Japanese encephalitis (JE) when no medical expert, whether inside or outside the country, had referred to JE for the past one month - but only to Nipah virus.

This is because killer virus is not JE but the Nipah virus.  As far back as last November, a Malaysian virologist had warned the authorities to look for another killer virus apart from JE virus, and if this warning had been heeded, Bukit Pelanduk and the whole of Negri Sembilan would have been spared the catastrope  both in terms of human lives, sufferings and financial ruin which subsequently descended on them  - and the RM2.5 billion pig rearing and pork industries would not have collapsed in the country!

MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, said at the National Press Club dinner in February that he had always reminded MCA leaders that "as a minority race, they should act as a minority race; and that they would be asking for trouble if they acted as if they are a majority race".

May be it is because of this MCA philosophy of "acting like a minority race" that MCA Ministers and leaders dare not take up fundamental issues of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, whether it be the case of Lim Guan Eng or the totally  unnecessary and avoidable deaths in Bukit Pelanduk and Negri Sembilan over the viral encephalitis outbreak, or cases of corruption and violation of human rights.

Such a MCA philosophy of "minority race" mentality is however subversive of the concept of Malaysian citizenship which confers on every Malaysian the right to enjoy full citizenship rights with regard to justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.

I have just returned from a conference in Bangkok on the role of Parliamentarians in South East Asia to fight corruption.  What struck me most from my discussions at this conference was the vibrant nature of the democratic and civil society in other South East Asian countries, especially the Philippines and Thailand, with Malaysia straggling behind as one of the last hold-outs in the region against greater democratisation and the development of a more vibrant civil society.

This is one important reason why injustices, violation of democratic rights and civil liberties as well as corrupt practices abound in Malaysia.

I do not expect the Barisan Nasional government to be toppled in the next general elections, which could be held this or next year.  However, I expect the coming general elections to be the most important one in the nationís history where a  start would be made to end the unhealthy, undemocratic and predominant  two-thirds majority of the ruling coalition in Parliament, which has spawned all the abuses and corruption of power in the country.

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