Media Statement

Permit a full bench to hear Lim Guan Eng’s case

Aliran has, on behalf of 40 NGOs, appealed to the Chief Justice of Malaysia on 12 August 1998, to permit a full bench to hear the Lim Guan Eng case.

We hope that this appeal will meet with a favourable response from the Chief Justice.

It is imperative that justice must not only be done but it should be seen to be done.

Appointing a full bench will be seen as justice being done without fear or favour and whatever the decision that this full bench hands down will go down well with the Malaysian public.

It is because we are concerned that the integrity of the judiciary must be preserved and that the confidence in the judiciary must be restored, that we make this joint plea to the Honourable Chief Justice.

P.  Ramakrishnan
14 August 1998

On the roster of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
PO Box 1049,  10830 Penang, Malaysia
Tel/Fax: +60-4-641 5785

12 August 1998

Tun Mohd Eusoffe Chin                                                    By Fax and Courier
The Honourable Chief Justice
Mahkamah Persekutuan Malaysia
Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad
Jalan Raja
50506 Kuala Lumpur

Fax No: 03-2932582

Dear Tun

Permit full bench to hear Lim Guan Eng’s case

We, the non-governmental organisations listed below, are very disappointed and gravely concerned that an application by Kota Melaka MP Lim Guan Eng to have a nine-man bench hear his appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision has been rejected.

We are also disturbed that no reason was given for this decision. In view of the importance of the case and its implications it would be in order for the public to expect a justifiable reason for the refusal to Lim’s fair request.

We therefore urge you to reconsider your decision and allow a full bench to hear Lim’s appeal. In acceding to this fair request, you will be enhancing the prestige and confirming the impartiality of the Malaysian Courts in hearing cases without fear or favour.

Lim’s case, rightly or wrongly, has been viewed as something motivated by political considerations - and with some justification too - because others who are similarly placed as Lim had not been prosecuted for reasons known only to the authorities.

Not only Malaysians but others outside the country are convinced to some degree that Lim is a victim of selective prosecution.  And unless Lim’s fair request is allowed, this perception will persist, tarnishing our system of justice.

What is at issue is the right of an elected representative to articulate not only the aspirations of Malaysians but to express outrage on their behalf when a wrong is committed blatantly. An issue as significant as this must be considered by a full bench and deserves not only their total attention but also the benefit of their collective wisdom to arrive at a fair decision.

In view of this, we, on behalf of all thinking, feeling and caring Malaysians, would like to appeal to you to reconsider your decision and allow a full bench to hear Lim’s case, not only in the interest of justice, but also to restore confidence in the judiciary.

Yours faithfully,

P.  Ramakrishnan
President, Aliran

On behalf of the following groups:

 1.  Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
 2.  Alaigal
 3.  Aliran
 4.  All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
 5.  BIMP-EAGA Monitoring Group
 6.  Brimas, Miri, Sarawak
 7.  Centre for Indigenous People’s Concern (CIPC), Bukit Peninjau, Miri, Sarawak
 8.  Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
 9.  Community Development Centre
10.  Era Consumer
11.  Indigenous Peoples Development Centre (IPDC), Belaga, Sarawak
12.  International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
13.  Jawatankuasa Kg Orang Asli, Bukit Tampoi, Selangor
14.  Jawatankuasa Sokongan Peneroka Bandar
15.  Kumpulan Tonibung, Penampang, Sabah
16.  Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
17.  Partners of Community Organisation (PACOS), Sabah
18.  Perak Consumers Association
19.  Persatuan Dayak Bakong Tinjar, Sarawak
20.  Persatuan Jayadiri Baram (BASDA), Miri, Sarawak
21.  Persatuan Kerjasama Masyarakat Desa, Kg. Tampasak, Sabah
22.  Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
23.  Pesatuan Sosio-Budaya Kg. Nambayan, Tambunan, Sabah
24.  Persatuan “Tabung Babu”, Niah, Sarawak
25.  Pertubuhan Dayak Machan, Sibu, Sarawak
26.  Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg. Bundu, Keningau, Sabah
27.  Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg. Dalit, Keningau, Sabah
28.  Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg. Kipovo, Penampang, Sabah
29.  Pertubuhan Rakyat Tungkusan, Kg. Tinangol, Kudat, Sabah
30.  Pusat Komas
31.  Sabah Women Action Resource Group, Sabah
32.  Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section
33.  Selangor Graduates Society
34.  Sinui Pai Senyik Nanek (Kumpulan “Hidup Baru Bersatu Hati”), Bidor
35.  Society for Christian Reflections (SCR)
36.  Solidaritas Timor Timur Malaysia
37.  Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
38.  Tholilaliyin Tholar (Friends of Workers)
39.  Women’s Crisis Centre
40.  Women’s Force (TENAGANITA)