DAP shocked by President Carter’s praise of Malaysia as “Model for human rights”

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, when speaking to members of DAP Branches in the Menglembu Parliamentary Constituency at a meeting held at Pasir Pinji DAP Branch on Friday, 7th Oct. 1977 at 8 p.m.

DAP shocked by President Carter’s praise of Malaysia as “Model for human rights” – and demands clarification from President Carter or American Government

Last week, Radio and Television Malaysia gave prominent time to a report that President Carter had described Malaysia as a “model for human rights for other countries.”

This was carried also in several newspapers, quoting Bernama as the source.

The DAP is shocked beyond belief as to hoe Malaysia could, in the eyes of President Carter who claimed to make human rights a cornerstone of his foreign policy, to be “a model of human rights for other countries to follow” when there is mass detention without trial, repression of speech, assembly and political beliefs in the country.

I do not know whether President Carter is talking from ignorance and misinformation or from full knowledge. If he had been misinformed, then I would like to know what the Human Rights Officers in the American Embassy in Malaysia has been doing. If President Carter was making a considered opinion after full possession of the facts about human rights conditions in Malaysia, the President Carter’s conception of human rights is no different from those of authoritarian or dictatorial regimes.

I note that the Bernama is given as the source of this news report, and that President Carter has not been directly quoted.

President Carter or the American Government should fully clarify this report, so that the DAP and Malaysians who are concerned about human rights in Malaysia know that conclusion to draw from Carter’s stand on human rights in Malaysia.

Even at this moment, two DAP leaders, one of whom is Member of Parliament, are coming to the end of their one year’s of political detention without trial, not because of any infringement of the laws of the land, but because of their political activities which have been strictly within the Constitutional and democratic limits of the law.

The security situation in the country has been used as a convenient weapon to strike down democratic political opposition – and I myself had been detained for 18 months for no reason whatsoever.

President Carter and the present American Administration should make its human rights stand vis-a-vis Malaysia’s human rights performance, which is a dismal one, clear-cut and unequivocal for the judgement of Malaysians and the world.