by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 20th February 1992:
DAP rejects the Barisan Nasional government’s new-fangled theory that international criticism of human rights violations and environmental degradation measures is an interference with domestic affairs
Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, has attacked the DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Bandar Kuching, Sim Kwang Yang, who is currently in Europe, for criticising the logging and deforestation policies in Malaysia, and in particular the detention of indigenous Sarawakians for protecting their lands and cultures like Anderson Mutang Urud.
Sdr. Sim Kwang Yang will reply to the specific charges of Ghafar Baba when he returns from Europe.
The DAP however rejects the Barisan Nasional government’s new-fangled theory that international criticism of human rights violations and environmental degradation measures is an interference with domestic affairs.
The DAP has always held that the term ‘human rights’ mean s rights inherent in a human being, regardless of his nationality or citizenship, and for this reason, it is a matter of universal concern whenever human rights in any country is violated or suppressed.
No government has the right to violate ‘human rights’ for they are derived not from any government of the day, but by virtue of being a human being!
The Barisan Nasional Government, led by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, is trying to spearhead an international movement to protect Third World governments and leaders from international criticisms, whether on violation of human rights or for environmental degradation measures. This is trying to put the clock back in humanity’s forward advance greater freedom and dignity.
DAP also rejects any attempt to equate international criticisms of Barisan Nasional government policies by Malaysians with disloyalty, for the government and the nation are two separate entities. The government of the day comes and goes, and history has shown that many governments had adopted policies inimical to the long-term national interest. To criticise the government where it is wrong is in fact the highest act of patriotism and nationalism.