by Lim Guan Eng
on His Release From Kajang Prison
on 25-8-1999

 A dozen years ago, I was detained without trial under the ISA for being a threat to national security. Then I was accused of being a Chinese chauvinist for defending Chinese education and the right of depositors who have been cheated of their life savings amounting to RM1.5 billion in MCA-controlled Deposit-Taking Co-operatives.

 Fighting for our constitutional rights and against those who cruelly defraud or cheat Malaysians of their hard-earned monies is considered by BN as a threat to national security.

 One year ago, I was imprisoned in Kajang Prison for sedition in trying to incite the Malays against the administration of justice. Suddenly I have become a Malay chauvinist  for defending an underage Malay schoolgirl, who was detained for three  years despite being raped whilst her rapists allowed to go free.

 Where else in the world would such a travesty of justice occur until victims are punished instead of her rapists merely to save the political interests of BN? Clearly, fighting for respect of women’s rights and protection of rape victims is considered by BN as a crime punishable by imprisonment.

 I am not a Chinese chauvinist. Neither am I a Malay chauvinist. I am just a Malaysian who believes that all Malaysians deserve their full constitutional rights, have a right to demand justice for all, enjoy equal opportunities, accord full respect to women’s rights and punish those who cheat or rape.

 For being a Malaysian I have been detained and imprisoned twice. I will not allow the BN government to prevent me from doing my duty as a Malaysian. Let me say this loud and clear. I am ready to be imprisoned a third time for being a Malaysian. I am proud to be a Malaysian.

 Today, I walk out of Kajang Prison with my head unbowed, spirit unbroken and faith unshaken. Just as it was a dozen years ago, prison walls cannot extinguish the fires of truth, justice and righteousness from burning in our hearts and minds: Neither can prison walls frighten us and kill our spirit to fight for justice until the rule of law, not the rule of tyranny, is established in Malaysia.

 I regret that the Federal Court has still not released the grounds of judgement why I should be imprisoned. It is unacceptable that I still do not know the reasons why I should go to jail when I am already released from prison. Such delay is most unfair as natural justice demands that a person has a right to know why he is being punished.

 I wish to sincerely thank the 300,000 Malaysians from all races, who supported my application for pardon and that I be allowed to continue as a Member of Parliament.  Even though we failed, I have no regrets.

Instead, we should feel a sense of accomplishment that we have succeeded in affirming the importance of equal justice, protection of women’s rights and a multi racial Malaysian national consciousness tied to a common destiny. On the other hand, BN has lost any moral legitimacy amongst women, turned its back on justice and exposed as using fear through its racial ‘divide-and-rule’ policy to maintain power.
The task at hand revolves around the type of society Malaysians want to live in. Our Prime Minister offers a vision of a society where corruption is part of economic progress and abuses of power and injustice necessary to maintain political stability. He may even be proud to lead a nation that detains rape victims and set rapists free.

That cannot be so. I believe Malaysians will only be proud to live in a secular nation where there’s integrity in public life, respect for freedom of religious beliefs and public accountability. We can only achieve that by committing ourselves to human rights and dignity, to justice and to democracy.

Today, I leave the prison walls as an ordinary citizen. I have lost much and learnt to endure more. But I am thankful for the unqualified support my parents, siblings, wife and children despite the pain they felt. Without them I would not be here today.

To all my friends here, especially my dear comrades in the DAP, do not despair at my fate. We must remember self-denial and willingness to suffer because of righteousness are principles of truth. Success that costs nothing is worth nothing.

Let us then rejoice that what has happened to me has really served to advance our cause of democracy, truth and justice. I believe that the bars and walls surrounding me have encouraged you to further the struggle of the party more courageously and fearlessly.

We can be justifiably proud where we stand in the eternal struggle between right and wrong. Let us inspire all Malaysians to do the same - stand up for right and punish wrong.

                        Malaysia deserves better!