*30 JUNE 2016*
*Guan Eng’s Prosecution: New Low in Malaysian Politics*
Today’s charges against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng signal a new low in Malaysian politics not seen since the disgraceful and outrageous prosecution of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim almost two decades ago.
However, coming in the wake of a protracted campaign of vilification and character assassination carried out by the administration of Dato’ Sri Najib Razak against my comrade, Guan Eng, this bout of selective prosecution and political persecution comes as no surprise.
These are the concerted actions of a man desperate to hold on to power at all costs, one who would choose to drag the nation through the mother of all scandals and ignominy rather than give up the post of Prime Minister.
Today’s prosecution of Guan Eng also caps a series of events over the week that first saw the sacking of Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir, and the suspension of Shafie Apdal from UMNO. This was followed by a media blitz against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed and the continued rubbishing of the Citizens’ Declaration. In the meantime, a state mufti (not Selangor) has gone on record as labelling DAP members as “kafir harbi”. And now we find Lim Guan Eng dragged into court.
It is patently clear that the charges levelled against Guan Eng under Section 23 of the MACC Act and Section 165 of the Penal Code are politically motivated, vexatious and constitute a gross abuse of executive power. This is apart from the fact that despite the overwhelming evidence of corruption, money laundering and power abuse against Prime Minister Najib Razak, no serious and earnest investigation has been carried out against him, let alone any semblance of a criminal prosecution.
There is a line beyond which power becomes a tool of oppression and injustice. In prosecuting Guan Eng in the face of such exculpating evidence in his favour, Najib Razak has crossed that line. It is true, he has within his command all the organs of power, a power that is now virtually unchecked and uncheckable with the forced passage of the National Security Council Act. But he must remember that even dictators with unlimited power will eventually fall.
The Federal opposition must come together and remain focussed on our singular struggle to rid our nation of the scourge of corruption at the highest places, unshackled power abuse and kleptocracy unlimited.
Let us set aside all our past differences and prejudices and return to the drawing board. We need to forge a consensus, stronger than ever before, and build a solid bloc for the next general election.
Lest we forget, Guan Eng is innocent until proven guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt by a court of law. Let me reiterate that I not only choose to give him full benefit of the doubt but that I am convinced he is innocent of these charges. I am further convinced that if the proceedings are free from any kind of executive interference and the judiciary is not subject to any kind of pressure directly or indirectly, Guan Eng will be acquitted and fully vindicated.
*DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI*