DAP calls for the expansion and enhancement of fundamental rights guaranteed by Malaysia Constitution

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, launching the new DAP book ‘Human Rights in Malaysia’ at DAP PJ Headquarters on Tuesday, Dec.10, 1985 at 12.30p.m.

DAP calls for the expansion and enhancement of fundamental rights guaranteed by Malaysia Constitution

On 10th December 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations defined the ‘human rights and fundamental freedoms’ asserted in the United Nations Charter by adopting and proclaiming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms….”

Mindful of responsibility of ‘every individual and every organ of society’ to promote the respect of human rights, the DAP convened a Human Right Convention in Kuala Lumpur on Nov.2-3, 1985, and has decided to publish in book from the papers presented at the Convention.

The last 40 years have witnessed the enrichment and enlargement of the human right concept the traditional civil and political freedoms to also emphasise economic, social and cultural rights, without which civil rights have no material basis.

This was why when 18 years later, the General Assembly translated the moral commitments of the Universal Declaration into legally binding international obligations, it adopted two separate Covenants- the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966.

Although Malaysia voted in the General Assembly in 1966 in support of both Covenants, it had refused to ratify or accede to them to create legal obligations binding on it.

The Malaysian government has got good reason for refusing to retify both International Covenants on Human Rights, for its human rights record cannot stand scrutiny under both Covenants.

In the face of progressive erosion and disrespect of their human rights, Malaysians must understand that human rights heritage which knows no bounds of time of time or space, and any dimunition of their human rights is a dimunition of their dignity and worth as human beings.

Various paper-writers in the Covenant had dealt at length about the erosion of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution.
There is a need not only for these fundamental rights to be restored to their original purpose, but also for the elaboration of human rights omitted from the Malaysian Constitution, including:

(i)The right to equality distinction as to sex or political belief;
(ii)The right to information;
(iii)The right to cultural identity;
(iv)The right to development;
(v)The right to free and fair elections;
(vi)Human rights in emergency situation; and
(vii)The right of minorities

I do not propose to discuss these rights, which would be dealt with at other human rights gatherings, nor is this an exhaustive one. We must, however, recognise that it is a long road to secure the respect, achievement and consolidation of human rights in Malaysia.

I commend the DAP Human Rights Committee for a very successful beginning of its task to create greater human rights awareness among Malaysians.

Anwar should ask Cabinet tomorrow to immediately release the Ahmad Nordin BMF Committee Final Report

The immediate release of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Inquiry Committee Final Report involves the fundamental right to information of Malaysian as to the exercise of public responsibility and trust over funds.

I commend the UMNO Youth Leader and Agricultural Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, for his statement in Johore Bahru yesterday that he agree that the BMF Final Report should be made public.

It is enough for him, however, to passively agree to the publication of the BMF Report. As a Minister, UMNO Youth Leader and veteran crusaer of issues, Anwar Ibrahim should take it upon himself the responsibility to ensure that the Government does not renege on its promise to make public the BMF Final Report.

In fact, at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting, Anwar Ibrahim should get the Cabinet to take the policy decision immediately to the public the BMF Final Report.

There is no need for the either the Bank Bumiputra or the Government to take an inordinate time to study Ahmad Nordin Final Report. The public should have the rights to study the BMF Final Report at the same time as Bank Bumiputra and the Government, as it is not the property of Bank Bumiputra and the Government but the public funds of the Malaysian people of Malaysia which involved.

The BMF Final Report should be released without any editing, or deletion of any name or names mentioned in it.

In this connection, I call on every Cabinet Minister to declare whether he or she support the full publication of the Ahmad Nordin BMF Final Report. Every political party, especially those in the Barisan Nasional, should also declare its stand on the critical question, which affects the very basis of integrity and honesty as well as thrustworthiness, of public officers vested with the responsibility over public funds and powers.