On Monday, I did a direct poll of the thousands of Malaysians
regardless of race, religion, gender or age who had gathered at Dewan Tunku,
KOMTAR in Penang for the "Welcome back Lim Guan Eng with honour" ceramah
and they voted in unison in a show of hands - and the ceramah was transformed
into a sea of hands raised high - to demonstrate their support to
send three messages to the Prime Minister, namely:
Last night, at the thousand-people "Welcome Back Lim Guan Eng with Honour"
DAP dinner, I conducted another direct poll and asked for a show of hands
to give full endorsement to the people of Penang on the three messages
to the Prime Minister, and there was virtual unanimity of support.
This time, however, the people of Petaling Jaya had a fourth message for
The unanimous popular support among ordinary Malaysians for the pardon and immediate release of Murray Hiebert is a reflection of the widespread feeling in Malaysia that it does no honour for Malaysia to be the first country in the Commonwealth in 50 years to jail a journalist for contempt of court, and the need for the ending of contempt of court laws which violate the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and a free press.
The Malaysian Government should not only pay heed to the increasing calls from international organisations and foreign governments for the immediate release of Murray Hiebert, but also the increasing demand by Malaysians that Hiebert should be pardoned and imemdiately released.
I have today sent an urgent fax to the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, in his capacity as Home Minister, to seek approval to visit Hiebert at the Sungai Buloh prison next week.
In the same fax, I have also asked for approval to visit former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, at the Universiti Kebangsaan Hospital, where he is being tested for arsenic poisoning.
I hope Abdullah can agree to these two visits which will show the governmentís commitment to openness and transparency, as well as the ideals of a fair, just, caring and decent society.