Call on MCA and Gerakan Ministers to raise in Cabinet next Wednesday, 31 July, the question of commutation of Sim Kie Chon’s death penalty

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Bentong DAP Branch 19th Anniversary Dinner held in Bentong, on Saturday, July 27 1985.

Call on MCA and Gerakan Ministers to raise in Cabinet next Wednesday, 31 July, the question of commutation of Sim Kie Chon’s death penalty.

The Bentong DAP 19th Anniversary Dinner tonight is very significant, for it not only marks the launching of the Save Sim Kie Chon signature campaign in Pahang State, but together with the DAP 19th Anniversary Dinner being held in Paloh in Johore tonight, marks the first launching of the DAP’s nation-wide signature campaign to save Sim Kie Chon from the gallows.

The Chairmanof the DAP Save Sim Kie Chon Campaign Committee, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye, is also launching the signature campaign in the Federal Territory this evening.

We are in a race against time, because Sim Kie Chon may be executed any time. Sim Kie Chon was convicted and sentenced to death by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in June 1983, and his appeal to the Federal Court was dismissed in October l983. He was supposed to be hanged on 3rd July 1985,
but on 2nd July 1985, Justice Harun Hashim granted a stay of execution. However, on 16 July l985, the government successfully applied for the stay of execution to be dissolved, and Sim’s further appeal to the
Supreme Court was rejected on July 23, 1985.

There is now no stay of execution and Sim may be sent to the gallows any time. It is very urgent, therefore, that the Malaysian people make their views heard to appeal to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
to show clemency by commuting Sim’s death sentence to life imprisonment.

There may be people who accuse the DAP of siding convicted criminals by trying to save Sim.
This is not so. We are motivated purely by the principle that there must be equality and justice in
our country. I fully agree that possession of firearms without authority is a criminal offence,
and should be punished. But surely, the question could be asked whether unlawful possession of a revolver is serious enough as to warrant death penalty! The second question is whether the crime a person who unlawfully possesses a revolver is more serious than a person who uses his revolver to take the life of another, as in the case of former Cabinet Minister Mochtar Hashim. Thirdly, if Mochtar Hashim had his death penalty commuted to life imprisonment, shouldn’t Sim also be spared the gallows by similar commutation?

I call on MCA and Gerakan Ministers to raise this urgent matter of Sim’s death penalty at next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting on July 31, MCA and Gerakan Ministers have proved to be great disappointments, for on crucial and fundamental issues, they dare not take a stand, whether
in Parliament or in Cabinet.

I hope that on Sim Kie Chao’s case, where not only the life of a person is involved, but the international reputation of Malaysia for justice, equality and non-discimination, MCA and Gerakan Ministers would
speak up for Sim in next week’s Cabinet for his commutation.

It is being spread by the Tan Koon Swan MCA faction that Neo Yee Pan is being forced out of Cabinet, and if this is so, then next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting would be Neo’s last Cabinet meeting prior
to his going on three weeks overseas leave, and subsequent disappearance from the MCA political scene. If this is the case, then Neo Yee Pan should at least speak up to save one Malaysian life, and protect the
international reputation of Malaysia in the eyes of the world, in his last and final Cabinet meeting!