Back in January 2018, Gerakan’s Penang Youth Chief Jason Loo was pictured in a press conference holding a thank-you card addressed to the Chief Minister of Penang. It was an entertaining stunt but nevertheless, a childish attempt to confidently demonstrate that his remarks on the sale of state land on Peel Avenue were ‘true and accurate’. His logic was naively simple – he must be right just because he wasn’t served with the cause papers.
On 6.3.2018, he sang a different tune in his press conference. Now faced with multiple statement of claims from Lim Guan Eng’s solicitors, Jason’s original confidence of a man who made defamatory statements earlier is gone. In his place is a boy who now writes emotional open letters to paint himself as the victim. Amusingly enough, he even wrote on why he studied law. I loathe to advise another legally-trained person on this basic procedure but he should know this – he’s much better off putting actual facts in his defence to Lim’s statement of claims than airing his rants and misplaced beliefs somewhere else.
He also touched on the possibility of being made a bankrupt, and being disqualified from being a candidate for the upcoming election due to this legal conundrum that he’s stuck in. A bit of dramatic flair we have here, don’t we? To ease his worried mind, let’s address his concerns. First, he need not worry about being made a bankrupt unless of course, he knows all the allegations he made against Lim were untrue and baseless. So what is his point here?
Second, unless Gerakan has a rule that prohibits its members with ongoing legal suits against them from contesting in the general elections, he should be in safe stead. Assuming further that he is well-versed with the law, Jason should know that save for bankrupts and those with convictions involving punishment of imprisonment and/or fine exceeding a certain limit, practically any Malaysian can be a candidate in the upcoming elections. The polling date is anyone’s guess for now, but is Jason expecting a conviction anytime before August 2018?
Finally, thank you for reminding us about the importance of freedom of speech, and the importance of having an opposition to provide a check and balance in the political system. Freedom of speech is not an unfettered right, and is subject to abuse especially by unscrupulous parties. As for having an opposition presence in the system, I think Malaysians prefer a dynamic opposition well-grounded on facts but perhaps this is new to him.
RAJA SYARAFINA RAJA SHUIB
Special Legal Officer to the Penang Chief Minister