The last hope to save the youths from the gallows

Speech by DAP organizing Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at the Johore Bahru DAP Branch to launch the signature campaign in Johore to appeal to the Sultan of Johore for clemency to commute the death sentence of the 11 Johore youths to life imprisonment on Saturday, July 13 at 7 p.m

The nation-wide signature campaign is the last hope to save the 11 Johore youths from death at the gallows.

Malaysia is a democratic country, and a democratic government must be responsive to the express will and wishes of the people of the country.

Malaysians of all races, religion, status and class, must come forward to support the signature campaign, to show categorically that they wish to see the lives of the eleven youths spared.

I wish to emphasise that this campaign rises above race, religion or politics. The youths must be seen as human beings, and humanitarian grounds cry out for their reprieve from the death penalty.

We are convinced that the majority of Malaysians are humane and compassionate, as proved by their overwhelming response and aid to those in need and suffering during floods and natural disasters. Only a minute percentage are as callous as Mr. Bernard Lu, the political Secretary to the Minister of Finance, who applauded the rejection of clemency appeals on behalf of the 11 youths, and who seem to revel in delight at the prospect of their execution.

Only Mr. Bernard Lu could say that the Pardons Board had shown fairness by hearing the case, and firmness in maintaining justice in the best interest of the people.

Everyone, except for the like of Mr. Bernard Lu, knows that the Mentri Besar of Johore, Dato Haji Othman Sa’at, had prejudged the outcome of the hearing of the Pardons Board long before it met. Dato Haji Othman Sa’at had gone on record at various places declaring that the 11 youths deserve to die, and will die. How can be a fair hearing by the Pardons Board when its most important member had already made up his mind long before its meeting, and staked his reputation in declaring that the 11 youths will be executed?

In this case, not only is justice not done, but justice is not seen to be done!

All humane Malaysians must never allow themselves to be misled into regarding that this is a communal issue. A great disservice Mr. Bernard Lu has done to the cause of humanity and the unity of Malaysians is for him to imply yesterday that loyal Malaysians Chinese must support the execution of the 11 youths.

We urge Mr. Bernard Lu, and all Alliance and MCA leaders, to stop regarding this problem in racial terms. Stop regarding the 11 youths as Chinese, and stop telling people to react as Chinese. They should set the example, as nation-builders, to regard the 11 youths as Malaysians, and exhort all Malaysians to react to this tragic affair as Malaysians, and not as Chinese, Malays or Indians.

Humanity, compassion and mercy know no race, class or politics. Mr. Bernard Lu, the Alliance and the MCA, and all Malaysians must rise above their racial considerations.

For those of us who are engaged in this errand of mercy, time is running out. For any time, the 11 youths may be executed. We pray that the government will be humane enough to allow the people to express their wishes through the signature campaign.

We must therefore work fast. We therefore call on all organisations, civic, trade union and political, and all individuals to join us in our mission for mercy.

My colleagues and I will visit Pontian tomorrow to initiate the movement for clemency there.

As Alliance claims that it is practicing parliamentary democracy, there must be room for the people to peacefully, democratically and constitutionally express their wishes to the government.

Audited on 2021-03-29.