Ordinary Malaysians urge the Malaysian government to pardon and immediately release Canadian journalist Murray Hiebert from Sungai Buloh prison where he is jailed for six weeks for contempt of court


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi should pay heed to the increasing demands of ordinary Malaysians from all walks of life for justice, fair play and decency in the cases of Anwar Ibrahim, Rahim Noor and Murray Hiebert.

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 Mahathir, namely:
 

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.

(16/9/99)


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