Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the public launching of the new DAP ‘Human Rights in Malaysia’ held in Ipoh on Thursday, 12.12.1985 at 8 pm
DAP calls on government to celebrate Human Rights Day on Dec. 10 every year fro Malaysians to reaffirm their commitment to human rights.
On Oct. 24, 1985, the Government celebrated the 40th United National Day with an elaborate ceremony at Parliament House, where the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, released pigeons to mark Malaysia’s commitment to world peace and the ideals of the United Nations Charter.
But on December 10, the world Human rights Day, the Government let it pass without any celebration or even notice. The Malaysian government had never once celebrated the Human Rights Day in the last 28 years since Merdeka in 1957, which is a sad reflection of the state of human rights in Malaysia.
The DAP calls on the government to celebrate Human Rights Day on December 10 every year, for Malaysians and the Malaysian Government to reaffirm their commitment to human rights in accordance with the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Part II of the Malaysian Constitution on fundamental liberties.
I am not suggesting that the government should indulge in extravagant expenditures to celebrate the Human Rights Day every year. There should be no extravagant expenditure at all. Human Rights Day must be celebrated by meetings and gatherings which seek to review human rights situation in the country, mark the setbacks or achievements, and a reaffirmation to protect, promote and consolidate human rights in the country for the next 12 months.
All the universities should encourage their student bodies to celebrate the Human Rights Day to examine the political, civil, cultural, social and economic status of Malaysians, to remind ourselves of the gap between the ideal and reality of human right guarantees in our Constitation and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to do our utmost to close this gap.
Human rights is not a luxury for Malaysians, but a pre-condition for the meaningful operation of a parliamentary democracy and the successful building of multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-religious Malaysia.
It is thus a gross denial of human rights for Malaysian if the government seeks to establish a ‘One Language, One Culture, One Religion Malaysia’; just as it is a lalatant violation of human rights to arbitrarily detain critics or opponents of government indefinitely without trials; or to ban public rallies or ceramahs depriving Malaysians the opportunity to express views or to receive information; or for large sections of the people to live in poverty, exploitation and discrimination.
Human rights is the birthright of every human being, and any attempt to violate the human right of a Malaysian is in fact an attempt to take away his dignity and worth as a human being, and must be opposed and condemned.
To marks this year’s Human Rights Day, the DAP has published a new book, ‘Human Rights in Malaysia’ , which is a collection of the papers presented at the two-day DAP Human Rights Convention in Kuala Lumpur early last month.
The book, presently in English language, priced at $8/-, will also be published in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil. To hope through the book, Malaysians will be made aware of their human rights and would be stirred to stand up for these rights when they are violated or trampled upon.
DAP calls for establishment of a Commission against Racial Discrimination to protect basic rights enshrined in Article 8
Article 8 of the Malaysian Constitution protects Malaysian from discrimination of any kind. However, in recent times, there have been more and more complaints by the people that either through administrative or policy measures, there have been more and more instances of racial discrimination.
Hawkers, for instance, feel that they are discriminated in violation of Article 8, for Municipal authorities take action only against a certain group of hawkers. Squatters had also made similar complaints.
There are serious developments in a multi-racial society, which could endanger the stability and harmony of the nation.
It is important therefore that the constitutional guarantee against racial discrimination enshrined in Article 8 of the Malaysian Constitution should be given real substance and meaning. One way to do so is to have a Commission against Racial Discrimination, where complaints by Malaysians against the government, whether Federal, State or local government, could be lodged for any action which is discriminatory racially.
Call for the resignation of Au Meow Chong as Deputy Parliamentary Secretary if he could not get the Telephone Directory printed in Mandarin
The recent decision of the government to disallow the printing of the telephone directory in Mandarin is a serious infringement of the fundamental right of Malaysians to cultural identity. I call on the Gerakan Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Telecoms, Au How Cheong, to resign if he could not get this decision rescinded, and allow the Chinese telephone directory to be published without any hindrance all these years.
In this connection, I would call on the Minister of Information, Rais Yatim, and in particular the Deputy Information, Datuk Chan Siang Sun, to explain why the government has a policy not to screen or allow any film or show portraying classical Chinese costume or historical setting
Over RTM. This was the reason why the Chinese operatic item of ‘Ti Loi Hua’ by Sudirman and Noorkumulasari were cut out of the ‘Setangkai Irama’ programme. Is the intention to cut out the cultural roots of the Malaysian Chinese?