Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at a Semangat 46 Ceramah held in Kuala Ketil, Kedah on Thursday, 2nd August 1990, at 9pm.
Seven reasons why Dr. Mahathir will find it difficult to get elected as the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations
In its previous issue, Dewan Masyarakat, the publication of the quasi-governmental agency, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, carried a Cover Story with the banner, ‘Setiausaha Agong PBB – Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’ – together with a 13-page special focus on the qualities and qualifitcations of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed to become the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Dewan Masyarakat said that if the present UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar
steps down from office at the end of his term in two years, time and is replaced by
Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Dr. Mahathir would be the second Asian, the first Malay
and the first Muslim to hold this most important and internationally-respected office.
Dr. Mahathir would head an organization with a membership of 159 independent nations
representing the overwhelming majority of the 5.3 billion world population.
This Dewan Rakyat Focus extolled the international profile of Dr. Mahathir, the
international issues he had raised in the United Nations and other international forums,
as well as various international conferences he had headed, like the Commonwealth Heads
of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kuala Lumpur in October last year, the International Conference on Indo-Chinese Refugees 1989 and the group of 15 Summit meeting this year.
In view of the quasi-governmental status of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka which publishes
Dewan Masyarakat, there seems to be a governmental promotion of the idea of
Dr. Mahathir as the successor to Perez de Cuellar when he finishes his term as
UN Secretary-General in 1992.
This impression is strengthened when this Dewan Masyarakat cover focus was recently
reproduced and given extensive coverage in the local newspapers.
Dr. Mahathir and the government should know that ther are at least seven reasons why
he would find it difficult to get elected as United Nations Secretary-General.
As the Dewan Masyarakat pointed out, as United Nations Secretary-General,
Dr. Mahathir would have as one of his duties the upholding of the principles and
precepts of the Charter of the United Nations.
As Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir does not have a good record in upholding the Charter,
Declarations and Conventions of the United Nations.
The best example is the refusal of the Malaysian government under Prime Minister-ship of
Dr. Mahathir for the past nine years to sign and ratify the International Covenant of Civil
and Political Rights and the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In fact, the KL CHOGM chaired by Dr. Mahathir specifically called on member countries
to ratify the two international covenants but the Malaysian government of Dr. Mahathir
has refused to set a good example.
The other six reasons why Dr. Mahathir will find it difficult to get elected as the sixth
United Nations Secretary-General is his dismal record on democracy and human rights
in Malaysia, such as:
1.Detention without trial under the Internal Security Act to silence Opposition leaders
and critics as during the Operation Lalang mass arrests in October 1987;
2.Violation of the freedom of speech, assembly and association of Malaysians through
an arsenal of draconian and undemocratic laws like the Official Secrets Act, the Printing Presses
and Publications Act, the Police Act, etc.
3.The continuation of the four Proclamations of Emergency although the first was proclaimed
over 25 years ago in 1966, making Malaysia even worse than South Africa in this regard;
4.The sacking of Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman and Datuk George Seah, and the undermining of the principle of independence
of judiciary and the rule of law.
5.His refusal to accord recognition to the election watch headed by Tun Mohamed Suffian
to monitor the general elections.
6.The restriction he is placing on the commonwealth observer mission for the general
elections to frustrate it from playing the role envisaged by the KL CHOGM Communique
last October ‘in the strengthening of democratic institutions in member countries’
I am surprised that with such poor record on human rights, democratic freedoms and principles,
here are quarters in the government who think that Dr. Mahathir could get elected as
United Nations Secretary-General.
If Dr. Mahathir wants to run for the post of United Nations Secretary-General, then he
should restore democratic freedoms and human rights to Malaysians first and set an
example of a prime minister who upholds the precepts and principles of the UN Charter