Malaysian conscience on trial at the bar of world opinion

The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today (14.8.68) issued the following statement:

Malaysia is now standing trial at the bar of world opinion, as to whether we are a nation of mercy, compassion and humanity, or whether we are an unfeeling, callous and heartless people.

The liberal conscience throughout the world have been agitated by the Malaysian government’s grim and unswerving determination to hang the 13 youths. Never before have the world attention been so focussed on Malaysia, to find out whether Malaysia has a soul and a conscience.

No appeals, however, whether they come from the parents of the condemned youths, the 100,000 Malaysians who have signed the national petition for clemency, civic, trade union and international organisations, or even from the Pope, seem capable of moving the authorities an inch from their cold-blooded purpose to execute the youths.

Instead of heeding the appeals, or giving careful consideration to them, the authorities had interfered with the normal judicial process, as when they brought forward the meeting of the Perak Pardons Board by two weeks.

The intent clearly was to dispose of the youths before the Parliament meets on August 19.

It is a great tragedy that the fate of the youths should be decided, not by the merits of the appeals, made nationally and internationally, but by the date of Parliament meeting.

The hanging of the youths will blot the Malaysian conscience and image in the world, and will bring lasting shame and disgrace to Malaysia.

The youths have a very strong case for the reprieve of the death sentence.

Many of them were minors when they committed the offence. They did not injure or kill a single person.

They have now repented. Yet their pleas for mercy have been ignored.

But what is even more damaging to the peace and well-being of Malaysian is that their execution will convince large numbers of Malaysians that the government has two laws for two groups of people.

Ahmad Boestaman, described by one Cabinet Minister in the Dewan Ra’ayat as having “conspired with enemies of the State”, is now free, and even given a MARA scholarship to England to study law. Many of the persons involved in the Indonesian-inspired conspiracy to establish a government-in-exile are now free men.

These are really the leaders who collaborated with the Indonesians, and misled Malaysians youths, like the 13 youths.

But though their responsibility is greater, and therefore their offence graver, their penalty is freedom and even government financial assistance. We do not grudge these men freedom or government scholarship.

But if the stooges, which the 13 youths are, are executed, while the leaders of Indonesian collaboration are let free, Malaysians must conclude that the government has two sets of law for two groups of people.

This will shatter whatever confidence the people has in the impartially of the government to administer justice.

It is highly regrettable that our Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, have not exerted himself on a worthwhile cause and errand of mercy. No one believes that if he had really exerted himself, even in his personal capacity, the lives of the 13 youths could not be saved.

We are convinced that it is still not too late to save the lives of the youths, if the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are genuine in their expression of sympathy for the condemned.

The whole Alliance cabinet and Alliance government is also on trial.

The parents of the condemned have appealed for public donations to help them to make final arrangements, in the event that on Friday, the authorities went ahead with the execution.

The parents have spent every cent of their savings in the last four years to explore every possible avenue to save their children.

This is a worthwhile cause. But in view of the shortness of time, there is only probably one or two days to collect funds.

Humane Malaysians are urged to respond to this appeal by the parents for help. Those who wish to do their little bit to help the cause of mercy, and ease the sufferings of the parents, should undertake the responsibility of collecting funds from their colleagues in offices, firms, factories, families, place of work, and hand the money over to the parents.

The best way to hand over the money will be to send through the daily newspaper. However, for those who wish to hand over money personally, they can do so at DAP offices at 63-D Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur and at Pudu DAP Branch, Jalan Pasar Bahru, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.

We hope the money need never be used for the final arrangements for the youths. Those Malaysians who pray, this is the time for them to pray for the youths.

The DAP makes a contribution of $100 towards the cause of the condemned.

Audited on 2021-04-08.