Aliran Media Statement
Lim Guan Eng: A True Malaysian
On 25 August, Lim Guan Eng will return to join Malaysian society not as a common convicted criminal but as a Malaysian hero: his stature enhanced and his integrity intact.
No matter what officialdom may claim, he will be perceived as someone who was treated unjustly by a system that no longer commands the confidence nor the respect of most Malaysians.
He will be remembered as someone who transcended ethnic boundaries in coming to the aid of a minor who claimed in open court that she was ravished by, among others, a prominent politician, who went scot-free.
While others were mouthing the vision of the ultimate Bangsa Malaysia in the distant future, he exemplified by his deeds the arrival of such a Malaysian right here and now, ahead of his time.
Because he stood by his principles and did what was expected of a decent caring human being, Malaysians will not forget this injustice that was meted out to him. Thinking Malaysians were rightly revolted by the turn of events, which extracted a very heavy price from him.
There is yet another reason why Malaysians will not forget this outrageous episode. Unlike a convicted murderer and a convicted corrupt politician who were pardoned some years ago, Guan Eng was not granted a pardon. Many flabbergasted Malaysians will forever be wondering whether Guan Eng's crime was worse than committing murder that he did not deserve a pardon in spite of the hundreds of thousands of citizens appealing for such a pardon. In contrast, there was no groundswell movement for the pardon of the murderer and the corrupt politician.
It is contradictions such as this that has disturbed the conscience of Malaysians and stirred their souls to demand justice.
In the wake of Guan Eng's imprisonment, Anwar's episode exploded in the face of Malaysians, confirming that all is not well in our society and imploring Malaysians to stop the rot in our midst.
Guan Eng is well placed to play his role even more positively now that the ground is simmering for change.
Grateful Malaysians not only salute him for his valour but are ready to be part of the movement that is gathering momentum, irresistibly and irrevocably.
25 August 1999