The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Oslo, notes with grave concern the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Malaysia to sentence to three years' imprisonment Lim Guan Eng, an elected Member of Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Action Party of Malaysia, a member party of the Socialist International.
Lim Guan Eng was charged under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act for having printed a pamphlet which reflected public disquiet over the Malaysian Government's handling of a statutory rape case involving a former government minister and the apparent denial of the rights of the victim, a young woman. As has happened before, efforts by opposition politicians in Malaysia to carry out their duty to question government actions are being seriously eroded by the use of restrictive legislation in an arbitrary and selective manner, and once again the rights of women in Malaysia have been undermined.
The Socialist International believes the case against Lim Guan Eng reflects a desire not only to detain and silence a prominent critic, removing him from public life, but also to deter others from the free expression of dissent. It therefore strongly urges that the conviction of Lim Guan Eng be overturned, that his political rights be fully respected and that he be free to carry out his responsibilities as a Member of Parliament. It also calls upon the Malaysian Government to halt the victimisation of women and fully guarantee that women's rights are respected in law and in practice.