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Chinese New Year message by Lim Kit Siang on Saturday, 24th January 2009: 

Can Malaysians regardless of race, religion or territory share a common Malaysian dream to build a united, harmonious, democratic, just, meritocratic, competitive and prosperous nation?

Happy and auspicious Chinese New Year of the Ox to all Malaysians.

When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th and first African-American President, he embodied the American dream rallying bipartisan support with the majority of Americans uplifted by better hopes for the future.

The question Malaysians should ponder on the occasion of the Chinese New Year of the Ox is whether Malaysians regardless of race, religion or territory, can share a common Malaysian dream to build a united, harmonious, democratic, just, meritocratic, competitive and prosperous nation.

The next 12 months will be a very difficult and challenging one, whether on the economic, political or nation-building front.

Two days after Chap Goh Mei on Feb. 11, Malaysia's human rights record will face scrutiny by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will investigate and consider the human rights situation in Malaysia as part of the Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of countries.

Malaysia's human rights record is not going to come out smelling of roses from the Councils UPR, especially with the recent slate of human rights atrocities, such as:

  • Another outrageous death in police custody, i.e. the suspected car thief A. Kugan, 22, held under a two-week remand for investigations into several luxury car theft cases, who collapsed and died at the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya on Tuesday;
  • The victimisation of 21 people, including DAP MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, Tony Pua, DAP Selangor executive council member Ronnie Liu, Kampung Tunku DAP assemblyman Lau Weng San, a Catholic priest Reverend Father Paulino Francesco Miranda of the Church of Divine Mercy, who were charged in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court yesterday for an illegal assembly in front of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) building on Oct. 9 last year in a candlelight vigil protesting against the Internal Security Act;
  • The tightening of the screws in government censorship, control and manipulation of the mass media as evident in recent weeks; and
  • Violation of the freedom of religion in the Home Ministry's action against the Catholic weekly, Herald, over the continued use of the word "Allah".

How will Malaysia human rights record fare in this first UPR review of the UN Human Rights Council?

Has the Cabinet met to prepare for the UPR review and should Parliament send a delegation to submit a report to the Human Rights Council for the review?

Deserving thoughts for the Chinese New Year together with the world's worst economic crisis and the ongoing political tsunami since the March 8 general election last year.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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