Prisoner of Conscience pricks Utusan’s conscience
If popularity and publicity is judged by column inches in a newspaper, then DAP’s Lim Guan Eng is certainly a champion. Even Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak cannot command such accolade.
And all for free, too. There will none of the public backlash when Malaysia’s First lady had a centrefold spread in the New York Times on April 16 April at a reputed cost of USD5 million.
Umno and BN should be happy that Lim Guan Eng is cheap and cheerful and comes at no extra cost to the government.
The Malay tabloid Utusan Malaysia dedicated six pages including its front page to attack the DAP. It accused Penang chief minister and DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng of being a racist and anti-Malay.
According to MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, Tony Pua, “Utusan paid a special tribute to DAP today (Dec 20) with 6 pages of coverage, including the front page. We must be doing something right!”
Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong told ‘Harakahdaily’: “An Umno leader had advised Prime Minister (Najib Razak) to ask Utusan to tone down its racial agenda half a year ago as it was counterproductive to Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia campaign.
“Either PM is sleeping or he condones Utusan’s racist views. Today’s attacks on Guan Eng and DAP is nonsensical.”
Utusan also accused DAP for being a tool of the Singaporean regime.
On the contrary, DAP is a poor cousin of PAP.
The two parties may have similar views on matters related to the civil service or the independence of the judiciary as well as policies relating to healthcare, tax and education but DAP has much to learn from PAP about freedom of speech and true democracy.
If anything, the two parties, UMNO and MCA, are closer cousins to Singapore’s PAP.
But it is puzzling why Utusan did not venture further and write about the time Lim was imprisoned and charged with sedition in 1994. Utusan should not have been that considerate.
The Penang Chief Minister was accused of causing ‘disaffection with the administration of justice in Malaysia’ under Section 4(1) (b) of the Sedition Act 1948. He was also charged under Section 8A (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 for ‘maliciously printing’ a pamphlet containing allegedly ‘false information.
Lim was eventually sentenced to three years imprisonment because he spoke out against the rape of a Malay schoolgirl by a government minister. The person he accused was Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik the Chief Minister of Malacca.
Instead of acting on the rape charge, both the underaged girl and Lim ended up being targeted by the state.
The 15-year old schoolgirl was detained for 10 days without parental consent and then sentenced to 3 years ‘protective custody’ in a house for ‘wayward girls’.
Lim had raised the anomalies of the case, after the girl’s grandmother (the girl’s guardian), who happened to be one of Lim’s constituents, brought the case to him and sought his help.
At Lim’s trial, the girl gave evidence that she had a sexual relationship with the minister. Under Malaysian Law, under age sex constitutes statutory rape.
Because of the rape accusation and pending corruption charges Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik was forced to resign. To date, no charges have been brought against him for the rape whilst the corruption charges have been dropped.
Therefore it is odd that Utusan excluded Lim’s prison term to drive home the message that he had spent time behind bars, so that he is not just racist and anti-Malay but is also a criminal.
Utusan need not mention why none of the Umno leaders had said nothing to protect the Malay minor from the sexual advances of one of their own.