DAP has temporarily weathered the three-week political typhoon to eliminate the DAP Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng with the allegation of corruption to distract attention from Malaysia’s first global corruption scandal with the presentation of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1MDB on Thursday.
This reminds me of the sudden tempest during the last general elections when there was a powerful and highly-financed operation to defeat Guan Eng in the Air Puteh state assembly seat, where money flowed like water in the constituency, with reported RM40 million spent to buy Guan Eng’s defeat in the 13,848-voter constituency and remove him as Penang Chief Minister.
Those people who were responsible for the gala time for Air Puteh voters – free food, drinks, lucky draw, generous angpows and even entertainment activities provided for FREE – are now back in operation, this time to remove Guan Eng as Penang Chief Minister on the ground of corruption in the RM2.8 million purchase of his bungalow.
Two wrongs do not make a right, and if Guan Eng is guilty of corruption in his RM2.8 million bungalow purchase, the full rigours of the law should be applied.
However, the maxim that a person is innocent until proven guilty must be scrupulously observed.
In this case, the allegation of Guan Eng’s corruption over the sale of Taman Manggis land to KLDIC has proved to be baseless, as the Taman Manggis land had been sold by the Penang State Government via open tender to the highest bidder.
Even the allegation that the DAP-led Penang State Government had “robbed” the people of low-cost housing in Taman Manggis had easily been debunked with the declassification of the State Exco minutes of the Gerakan State Government in 2005 and 2007 which showed that the government back then had no plans whatsoever to build homes for the poor.
In contrast, the DAP-led Penang State Government had commenced a separate low, low-medium cost and affordable housing less than two kilometres away in Jalan S.P. Chelliah which is nearly 10 times the size of the land in Taman Manggis.
I have maintained that two wrongs do not make a right. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) must prove that there are two wrongs. But the MACC seems to be politically directed to prove that there are no two wrongs, but only one wrong – Lim Guan Eng and not Najib Razak.
I call on MACC to demonstrate that it is not directed or influenced by political consideration in carrying out its investigations, which had caused the death of Teoh Beng Hock for which justice has yet to be rendered.
The MACC should explain why it had immediately swung into action after the corruption allegations against Guan Eng by UMNO/BN leaders, despatching scores of MACC officers to investigate Guan Eng’s case, but similar actions had not been taken with regard to the first global corruption scandals in the country, involving the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak?
As Najib’s RM4.2 billion donation scandal is 1,500 times bigger than Guan Eng’s alleged RM2.8 million bungalow scandal, while the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal is 20,000 times bigger than the alleged RM2.8 million bungalow scandal, had MACC assigned hundreds of MACC officers to investigate Najib’s twin mega scandals, when it could assign scores of MACC officers to Guan Eng’s case?
If the MACC is subject to the political direction of the powers-that-be, then Guan Eng is likely to be arrested and charged in court for corruption, believing that this will be a fatal blow to the DAP, in particular to the DAP-led Penang State Government.
There is now a great fear of the DAP among several quarters, the latest from Sarawak with the latest news that the Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem is mulling over the banning of Guan Eng, myself as well as the PKR President Datuk Seri Azizah Wan Ismail, from entering Sarawak for campaigning in the 11th Sarawak State Elections.
There is already a long list DAP and PKR Members of Parliament banned from entering Sarawak, including DAP National Vice Chairman Teresa Kok, National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua, Deputy National Publicity Secretary Teo Nie Ching, PKR National Vice Chairmen Nurul Izzah, Chua Tian Chang and Rafizi Ramli, Parti Amanah Negara President Mohamad Sabu, and even the DAP mascot designer Ooi Leng Hah.
DAP is the first political party to espouse the cause of full restoration of Sarawak and Sabah autonomy rights, but the denial of Opposition leaders and Members of Parliament entry into Sarawak for legitimate political activities is unconstitutional and undemocratic.
In 1974, I was denied entry into Sarawak and I raised my strong objection in Parliament. But 42 years later in 2016, we have gone back to such undemocratic practices and abuses of power – a salutary reminder of the need to ensure healthy checks-and-balance if democracy is not to go off the rails, not only on matters of autonomy but a whole range of other policy areas as well.
All these abuses of power stem from one fear – the fear of losing power.
How can one claim to be a democrat when one is afraid of losing power and is prepared to resort to all sorts of undemocratic and illegal means to remain in power at all costs?
This is why Sarawak and Malaysia have yet to develop to become a normal democracy, where the voters can change political parties in government without it being presented as national catastrophe but accepted as a normal democratic process.
The marvel in the case of Sarawak is Adenan Satem is not facing the prospect of losing power, as he will be returned as the Sarawak Chief Ministerin the 11th Sarawak state elections with the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assembly tomorrow.
The only question to be decided in the Sarawak state polls is whether Adenan will be able to win with a two-thirds majority. If this is already causing him to abuse his powers as Chief Minister. I wonder what he would do if he faces the prospects of losing the Sarawak Chief Ministership in a state election?
In the last general election, I moved from the safe seat of Ipoh Timor parliamentary constituency to the risky Gelang Patah seat and many people supporters questioned the wisdom of the move as they feared that I might be defeated.
If we believe in democratic politics, we must not be afraid to lose. Unless we use democracy to hide authoritarian tendencies, we must not abuse powers just to stay in power – as what Adenan Satem is doing in abusing his powers by banning Pakatan Harapan MPs and leaders from entering Sarawak to campaign for the Sarawak state general elections.
If Adenan is so afraid of democracy, why is he holding elections?
I hope Adenan will remove his blanket ban on Pakatan Harapan MPs and leaders from entering Sarawak for legitimate political parties in campaigning in the Sarawak state elections – unless he can make out a case that the persons being banned are religious bigots, extremists or troublemakers.
[Speech (2) at the DAP “Pantang Undur – Berani Kerana Benar” kopitiam ceramah in his visit to 101st parliamentary constituency in Kepala Batas on Sunday 10th April 2018 at 9 am]