Make no mistake, the wind of socio-political change is something that cannot be avoided – the call for reform is clear, says Syerleena Abdul Rashid.
DAP condemns the recent arrest of Penang’s Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng; the timing and the events leading to the arrest only display the fervent desperation by the ruling regime to undermine the Opposition and attempt to deliver the death blow to silence dissent at all costs.
Lim Guan Eng, who is also DAP’s secretary-general, is expected to be charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act and Section 165 of the Penal Code. The first charge is related to the alleged abuse of power with regard to land rezoning and the second concerns the purchase of a bungalow, which he is accused of acquiring below market price. These sections deal with abuse of power and conflict of interest.
The arrest marks another chapter in the ongoing persecution of opposition political leaders leading up to the 14th general election – with the first ‘casualty’ being de-facto Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
The Najib administration is responsible for the further disintegration of constitutional guarantees – free and fair elections, personal liberties, freedom of speech and expression as well as prohibitions om holding peaceful gatherings, which are all basic rights, enshrined in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution and most importantly, pillars that make up democracy.
It is evident that in Malaysia, there is indeed systematic persecution, where the present ruling government acts consistently to single out and unjustly persecute members of the Opposition. The limitations imposed and the restrictions on human rights are dissuasive practices initiated by the Najib administration to spread extreme fear amongst citizens within the Federation of Malaysia.
The underhanded methods used to remove elected officials who oppose the present ruling regime is telling of how Malaysia has an authoritarian system that is cleverly masked as a democratic one. Let it not be said that acts of repression and displays of intolerance are customary under dictatorial regimes.
Furthermore, the misuse of power is clearly an abuse of mandate and a blatant abuse of rights, all of which contradict the pillars of democracy that hold this federation together.
The arbitrary detention and the jarring double standards carried out by the powers that be, will further deepen the constitutional crisis but simultaneously, will set in motion, the wheels for reforms.
Make no mistake, the wind of socio-political change is something that cannot be avoided – the call for reform is clear. Malaysians will not cower nor remain silent; we will only come out stronger, braver and more resolute.
Syerleena Abdul Rashid is DAP Wanita national assistant publicity secretary.