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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lim Guan Eng & DAP In The Eyes Of The Malays

A heartfelt letter to Lim Guan Eng when he was in prison- written by a Malay and published in December 1998
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Dear Guan Eng,

As you languish in prison, I have had plenty of time to reflect on you and your idealism.

Rightly or wrongly, the Democratic Action Party has long tried to have a ‘Malaysian’ character when the vast majority in the country still perceive it to be essentially a political party for the ethnic Chinese.

I realize that recently people like you have tried hard to attract Malaysians, especially Malays, to make the DAP truly Malaysian, but not too successfully, in my view. Then came an explosive event- the Rahim Thamby Chik case- which made a lot of Malays sit up and change their perceptions of the DAP. That case rocked Malay society to its very foundation.

Your conduct and role in pursuit of truth in that scandal earned my deepest admiration. The series of events following that scandal, culminating in the judicial proceedings against you, have turned out to be a classic example of how a verdict in a ‘court of law’ has become subordinate to the ‘ court of public opinion’.

Ask any Malay mother anywhere. Few would agree that the famous grandmother in that scandal should have been abandoned by UMNO, and the under-aged girl should have been so blatantly violated , abused and her family silenced and doesnot know her rights.

By your words and deeds, you challenged the government, police, media, and the judiciary, and exposed yourself to certain incarceration and vindictive punishment by Dr. Mahathir and the political elite.

I have always believed that God works in mysterious ways.

Inexplicably, He chose you to put the DAP into sharp focus. He chose you to force Malaysians to look at themselves and reflect on the abuse of basic values in our society.

To that extent, God in His wisdom made the DAP no longer just a Chinese political party, but, overnight, into a truly Malaysian one which fights for the deprived.

I am a Malay with a family of my own. I shall remember you as a Chinese father who fought for the rights of an ignorant poor Malay grand-mother and her sexually abused grand-daughter.

I know that when you decided to take on the case, you knew the price for your action would be heavy for you and your family, personally and politically.

Today, you are still paying the price. You languish alone in prison.

Ironically, as in Nelson Mandela’s case, the longer they lock you up,the greater will be your stature, the more powerful the focus on the issues you fought for.

I also know that, all through this, you can look into the eyes of your wife, children and parents,and say, with deserved pride and honour, that ‘Guan Eng has not prostituted his dignity, decency and self-respect in the face of oppression and tyranny’.

You have truly given new meaning to the maxim, ‘Politics With Honour’.

More importantly, you have made me look in the mirror and ask, ‘Who Am I? What have I done to speak out against the evil forces which confronted two Malay kampong women? Why have I remained silent? Have I lost my decency and self-respect?’

In all honesty, I cannot say I have the guts to look into the eyes of my family members and say I have done them proud. I have kept silent.

I owe it to you, Guan Eng, for opening my eyes and stirring my conscience.

Our inaction and apathy have allowed oppression, tyranny and injustice to continue. We have to search our hearts and souls to find ways to make up for our negligence and ineptitude.

To you, Guan Eng, I offer prayers from my family. May the blessings of the Almighty continue to give you strength, courage and tenacity to do what is right and just for all Malaysians.

Yours Sincerely,

Narmi Saila

Petaling Jaya,

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