[Press Statement – Democratic Action Party]
Malaysian National Signature Campaign to seek the Sultan of Johore to reprieve the 11 Johore youths
Malaysians of all races, walks of life, religion and ages, throughout the country, have responded splendidly to the national signature campaign to petition the Sultan of Johore to exercise his prerogative of mercy to commute the death sentence passed on the 11 Johore youths to life imprisonment.
The fact that Malaysians voluntarily come forward to sign up show the depth of their humanity and compassion. Although the weekend was spent mostly in preparations in launching the campaign, we have collected over 20,000 signatures.
The campaign is now in full swing throughout the country. Apart from Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Johore, the drive is spreading into Pahang.
We need more manpower however. This signature drive to save the 11 youths is not a DAP campaign. It is a campaign of all decent, compassionate and merciful Malaysians.
We urge therefore all those who have signed the petition, and who are in the process of doing it, to also come forward to help take the signature campaign to more Malaysians, to more areas.
We are confident that if Malaysians who have signed up will also help shoulder the responsibility of canvassing more signatures, there is no problem in collecting half a million signatures in a week.
We therefore urge all Malaysians to come forward, to rise above party politics, race, and all other considerations, and act on a united front for purely humanitarian grounds.
Civic organisations and trade unions have still to respond to the call. We hope they will act immediately. For if they act, it may help to save 11 young Malaysians lives. Trade union membership in Malaysia is over 300, 000 . If they mobilise their workers for a cause of mercy, them the petition to the Sultan will be even more effective.
Time is running out against us, because anytime the 11 youths may be executed. We pray that the Sultan of Johore would stay the order of execution to permit the Malaysians People to express their wishes in a peaceful, democratic manner.
During our separate trips to various parts of Malaysia during the weekend, my colleagues, Dr . Chen Man Hin, Mr. Goh Hock Guan, and I, have found that there is a general revulsion against the heartlessness of Alliance leaders, in a particular, the Mentri Besar of Johore, Dato Haji Othman Sa’at, the Political Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Bernard Lu, and the MCA Secretary-General, Mr. Kam Woon Wah.
All decent Malaysians, who have a sense of humanity in them, are agreed that the 11 youths should be spared the supreme penalty of death. They have committed a grave offence against the state in consorting with the Indonesians during Confrontation. But their strongest plea for clemency and humanity is that they were in their teens when they were involved. At such an age, anyone is easily misguided and misled. They are not hardened criminals or traitors. Conscience dictate that they should be given another chance.
In Pontian on Saturday, when refusing to intercede on behalf of the parents of the 11 condemned, Tun Tan Siew Sin said in communist countries, traitors are put against the wall and shot.
What is the difference if in a democratic country, they are put on the gallows and hung? Is Tun Tan Siew Sin suggesting that this is a more humane and civilised practice?
Let Malaysians show the world that we are a nation with charity, compassion and conscience.
I would make a special plea to all political parties to sink their differences to act jointly on purely humanitarian grounds.
We regret that when Mr. Goh Hock Guan suggested to Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, Gerakan Secretary-General that we launch a joint national signature campaign help the 11 youths , Dr. Tan declined to co-operate. We urge he and the Gerakan leaders to reconsider in the interests of mercy, compassion and humanity.
We also urge all elected representatives of the people, whether MPs or State Assemblymen, to take up this matter and respond to the wishes of their voters.
This matter of 11 lives must be regarded solely as a matter of individual conscience. MPs and State Assemblymen should not feel compelled to take the Alliance party line.
I believe there are Alliance MPs and State Assemblymen who have a heart and a conscience. We urge them to speak up their mind, and not stifle their conscience and harden their heart, all because the Alliance gospel decrees so.
I also urge the people of Pontian to react as one to the national signature campaign. A humanitarian, Mr. Yeo Lin Thiam, of 427 Jalan Teo Kang Swee, Pontian has kindly consented to undertake the campaign in Pontian. All Pontian people should look up Mr. Yeo to record their wishes.
Audited on 2021-03-29.