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Network for Social Democracy in Asia (SocDem Asia) Statement on the arrest of Democratic Action Party Leader Lim Guan Eng

The Network for Social Democracy in Asia (SocDem Asia), a regional network of social democratic and progressive political parties condemns the recent arrest by the Malaysian authorities against Democratic Action Party (DAP) Leader Lim Guan Eng. It is clear from the circumstances that his arrest is politically motivated and part of an overall attempt by the government to silence the democratic opposition.

We stand in solidarity with our sister party the DAP on its fight for transparency, justice and progress for Malaysia.

Mr. Lim Guan Eng's arrest was effected on the evening of Thursday, August 6 based on charges similar to those which have previously been dismissed by the judiciary. It is clear that this arrest is tantamount to political prosecution.

This case is proof of ongoing efforts to discredit the Pakatan Harapan (PH), the broad alliance of democratic parties in the country elected by Malaysians in 2018. We are alarmed that such moves are underway for the arrest of other high-ranking leaders of PH with the objective to render the opposition leaderless going to the next elections touted to be called very soon.

If such efforts by those currently in power were to be successful, all reforms initiated by the former PH government will be reversed or erased. They will also ensure by all means that forces not aligned with them will never return to government.

It is saddening that the mandate given by voters in 2018 for a clean, representative, and democratic government has been subverted since the usurpation of power by the present ruling coalition (a coalition of remnants of the UMNO political machine, political opportunists, and the reactionary elements of Malaysian politics) late last year.

We urge the Malaysian people and the democratic opposition to close ranks and remain vigilant against any attacks on civil liberties. It is saddening that this has occurred less than three years since Malaysians succeeded in voting out of office the corrupt regime of the convicted former Prime Minister Najib Razak. The current ruling government has shown it has no qualms of replicating the same tactics of political harassment and intimidation perpetrated by the corrupt UMNO-led government.  ###