by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 7th February, 1992:
Malaysian Government should allow Amnesty International to be registered in Malaysia to prove that its human rights record can bear international scrutiny
The Malaysian Government should allow Amnesty International (Malaysia) to be registered in Malaysia to prove that its human rights record can bear international scrutiny.
The Malaysian Government should be reminded that in the Singapore Declaration released at the recent ASEAN summit, Malaysia committed itself together with other ASEN Governments to encourage Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in the region.
The Government’s continued refusal to register the Malaysian Amnesty International would be seen in Malaysia, ASEAN and the wide world as the Prime Minister going back on the commitment given at the ASEAN summit to recognise the important role of NGOs in national development and to encourage and promote their growth.
Berita Harian reported the UMNO Youth Information chief, Senator Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and a University Teknologi Malaysia lecturer, Zaini Ujang, as being strongly opposed to the establishment of Amnesty International in Malaysia on the ground that Amnesty International is irrelevant to the needs and conditions of Malaysia.
This is a most ridiculous argument and would seem to imply that Malaysians are somehow not civilized enough to have the right to demand and enjoy human rights.
It would be a great shame if Malaysia excludes it self from the great human struggle for human rights and dignity, whether in the East, the West, the North, the South, outside or inside Malaysia.
The Malaysian Government should realise that by refusing to allow the registration of Malaysia Amnesty International, it is advertising to the whole world that it has a poor human rights record.
The greatest disappointment in the Singapore Declaration of the recent ASEAN Summit is that it completely omits reference to human rights and democracy in ASEAN and South East Aisa, and in particular, ignoring the grave violation of human rights in Myanmar in continuing to incarcerate Nobel Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi.