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In defence of Matthias Chang

T Rozario in his letter to Malaysiakini wrote "To Chang, all I can say is ‘you sow what you reap’. By his indifference during the sacking of Salleh Abas, this so-called prominent and experienced lawyer decided that silence was bliss, so to him I say, ‘Matthias, you were party to making this bed so do not complain when you lie on it.’"


Rozario, where have you been? You should get your facts correct before you comment on matters of which you are ignorant about, especially on Matthias. It is on record and public knowledge that Matthias opposed Mahathir's interference in the judiciary. He was one of the few lawyers who openly opposed Mahathir's sacking of Salleh Abas, the then Lord President of the Supreme Court.

He played a critical role in defending the judiciary in general, and Salleh Abas in particular, at that time. Many prominent lawyers including justice Eusoffe Abdoolcader commended Matthias for the stand he took. So, Rozario, please get your facts right if you wish to be seen as an objective opinion writer.

For Rozario to describe the judge who committed Matthias to jail as "brave" shows a total lack of objectivity and a perverted mindset, who is bent on discrediting Matthias.  


Matthias is not a member of any political party and has campaigned against injustice all his life.  In 2000, he was invited to be Mahathir's political secretary because of his untainted reputation as an independent-minded professional, not aligned to any political party, who is prepared to speak his mind and stand up to Mahathir as demonstrated in the Salleh Abas case.

He accepted the role during the last three years of Mahathir's premiership out of a sense of duty and service to the country, with the aim of doing good by providing objective advice to Mahathir, with no expectations of any favour and overt or covert reward. The key role of a non-partisan political secretary is to provide non-partisan objective advice. This does not necessarily entail compromising one's principles.  


Lahore San, also in the comments section of Malaysiakini , said that "he (Chang) was a beneficiary of this system", implying that Matthias benefitted from his role as political secretary to Mahathir. One can try to do good for our country by either working within or outside the establishment. It is a sad reflection of our country that it is assumed whoever works within the establishment is there primarily for personal gain.

To date, Matthias is still known as ordinary Encik (Mr) Chang, with no titles, still living in the same house, driving the same type of car, and having the same lifestyle as he did before he was political secretary to Mahathir.  If Matthias has benefitted overtly or covertly, his enemies - and there are many, especially within the establishment - would be exposing his ill-gotten gains.  So, Mr San, produce some evidence.  


Like many who know Matthias, I salute his courageous stand.  By the way, I am very proud that Matthias is my cousin. We are as close as brothers and I write with in-depth knowledge of my dearest cousin.