Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 20th July 2010:
Former RMAF sergeant Thamendran's personal safety and welfare while he awaits trial for theft of two jet-fighter engines has again put national and international focus on "institutional degradation" which if not checked will cause Malaysia to become a failed state
It is another international infamy for Malaysia that former RMAF sergeant N. Tharmendran, 42, feels comparatively safer in Sungai Buloh prison while he awaits trial for the theft of two jet-fighter engines than to be out of jail.
It was only 11 days ago he was freed when he and his family successfully waged a six-month battle to reduce his RM150,000 bail to RM50,000.
It is a terrible indictment on the system of governance in Malaysia that a person should feel safer in prison custody than to be out as a free man, for fear of being abducted and tortured again by military intelligence officers, as Tharmendran had alleged that he had been previously detained and tortured by military intelligence for three weeks and the "favourite torture" was to make him wear a crash helmet where he was repeatedly hit as hard as possible.
Thamendran's personal safety and welfare while he awaits trial for theft of two jet-fighter engines has again put national and international focus on "institutional degradation" which the New Economic Model had identified as one of the causes of Malaysia's economic stagnation and "declining growth trajectory".
Thamendran's personal safety and welfare while he awaits trial for theft of two jet-fighter engines has put to the very fore the question whether Malaysia is heading to become a failed state if "institutional degradation" in the country's system of governance cannot be arrested and reversed.
Thamendran joins a lengthening list of cases which cast doubt on the seriousness, ability and political will of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to arrest “institutional degradation” and restore national and international confidence, a precondition for any success for Malaysia to become a developed, inclusive, sustainable high-income nation, cases like:
Can Najib and his Cabinet give a iron-clad guarantee that Tharmendram need not seek refuge in Sungai Buloh prison and that he would be absolutely safe on bail while awaiting trial for theft of two jet-fighter engines?
If not, his "1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now" policy cannot have credibility or legitimacy.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor