Eighteen years ago, Lim Guan Eng was jailed, disqualified as MP for Kota Melaka, lost his parliamentary pensions and disenfranchised of his right to vote and stand for elective office for five years on release from Kajang Prison because he was defending the dignity and human rights of an underaged Malay girl.
Today, Lim Guan Eng faces another jail sentence, disqualification as Chief Minister of Penang and MP, loss of his Chief Minister and parliamentary pensions, and another period of civil enfranchisement because he wanted to introduce integrity and good governance in Penang, so that it could be a model state for the rest of Malaysia.
When Datuk Seri Najib Razak became Prime Minister of Malaysia in April 2009, he announced the 1Malaysia Transformation Plans, and the war against corruption was listed as one of the seven NKRAs (National Key Result Areas).
He announced “Big Results” as an important methodology to realise the National Transformation Plans.
Najib has succeeded beyond expectations in achieving “Big Results”, for his RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega scandals have reached global scale, catapulting the nation to its first global financial scandals in the world.
Something is very wrong with our national integrity system when seven separate countries are investigating into the 1MDB global multi-billion ringgit embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption but the RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” scandals are completely exonerated by the Attorney-General of the country.
The action against Guan Eng started with the series of purges nearly a year ago, when the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, the Attorney-General, senior officers in key national enforcement and investigation agencies like the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Bank Negara, the Police were summarily sacked, arrested, transferred with immediate effect, intimidated or cowed into silence, mass media closed down, websites blocked, critics arrested and prosecuted.
Such purges and repression redoubled after Najib’s twin by-election victories in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections on June 18, which saw the Prime Minister gained new confidence that he can sweep the twin RM55 billion 1MDB and RM4.2 billion “donation” scandals under the carpet at home, whether by intimidating or silencing critics or dissent, regardless what is happening in the rest of the world.
There was the swift chain of offensives, like the sacking of Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir from UMNO and the suspension of Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as UMNO member; punitive actions against former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, subjecting him to police investigation and interrogations and withdrawal of government funding for Mahathir projects like the Perdana Leadership Foundation; the final purge in the MACC involving the two top men in the MACC, marking the completion of the Grand Purges of the key figures in the former Special Task Force on 1MDB, involving topmost officers in Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara, the Police and MACC.
An important plank in the political offensive by Najib to consolidate his power position was the series of baseless attacks on the DAP as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and being “corrupt”, using its mouthpieces like Utusan Malaysia and propaganda arsenal of cybertroopers to spread baseless fear and alarm that if UMNO is evicted from Putrajaya, the Malays will lose political power which they can never recover; that the DAP is “kafir harbi” which could be slain for “warring” against Islam; and that the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is guilty of corruption.
Instead of condemning the Pahang mufti for his dangerous classification of DAP and non-Muslims as “kafir harbi” who could be slain, the Prime Minister’s Office had chosen to white-wash the mufti’s statement, claiming that the Pahang mufti Abdul Rahman Othman had been distorted.
Has the Prime Minister’s Office invented a new Islamic term of “kafir harbi” who need not be slain?
The spontaneous and instantaneous support shown by all sectors of the population in Penang and Malaysia, demonstrated by the million-ringgit donation for Guan Eng’s bail within 21 hours, the thousands who participated in this morning’s “Walk with Guan Eng” and the full-house in Dewan Sri Penang to show support, sympathy and solidarity with Guan Eng, are powerful signs of the people’s commitment to the cause not just to Save Lim Guan Eng, but to save Malaysia from continuing the present national trajectory towards a fractured, failed and rogue state.
Let us transform this new national energy, beginning from Penang, into a powerful peaceful and democratic wave and movement, not only to save Lim Guan Eng but to save Malaysia from hurtling towards a fractured, failed and rogue state so that the Malaysian people’s aspiration for a just, democratic, progressvie and prosperous Malaysia for all Malaysians can be realized.
(Speech at the SSSLge “Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng” public meeting at Dewan Sri Penang on Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 12 noon)