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Jail sentence on student Umar outrageous, says Kit Siang

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 DEC: DAP supported the protest camp outside Kajang Prison set up by student activists as a pledge of solidarity with “Occupy Dataran” student Umar Mohd Azmi who suffered harsh jail sentence for merely exercising his rights to assemble peacefully.

DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang said the month-long jail sentence together with the maximum fine of RM1,000 on Umar has become a national and international cause celebre.

This is because it is utterly outrageous as well as a devastating reminder for Malaysians that  the criminal justice system in Malaysia  still sucks even under the four-year premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, he said.

“I am now in Sydney or I would have visited the protest camp set up by student activists outside the Kajang prison to demonstrate my support, sympathy and solidarity with Umar at the gross injustice of the harsh sentence imposed on him for obstructing a public official from performing his duty,” he added.

In his statement today, Kit Siang said the protest camp set up by student activists outside Kajang Prison reminded him of the protest action against the 18-month jailing of (Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general) Lim Guan Eng in August 1998.

“Guan Eng ‘crime’ was defending the dignity and honour of an under-aged Malay girl, resulting in his disqualification as Member of Parliament and  being barred from standing for elective office five years after release from Kajang Prison.

“In protest, DAP leaders, supporters and sympathisers staged an 18-day Free Guan Eng Marathon Fast in September 1998 as an expression of the nation-wide dismay, shock, grief and outrage at the great injustice,” he said.

Kit Siang who is also Ipoh Timur MP said that the stark failure  of both Najib and his predecessor Tun  Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to reform the criminal justice system after the ravages caused by the 22-year Mahathir premiership, has been vividly highlighted by the Umar case.

He added that other cases showed lack of sincerity of Najib’s side with many unresolved mega-scandals of injustices in the country, whether it be the murder of the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, the death of Teoh Beng Hock at MACC premises or the  host of mysterious deaths and killings while under official custody, like V. Kugan.

He said those were among the reasons why Malaysia must change the Federal government in Putrajaya in the forthcoming 13th general elections as the country is teeming with cases where the criminal justice really sucks like the case of Umar. – The Rocket.

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