Malaysia should Withdraw Top Award to
Ex-Chilean Dictator Pinochet
by M Kula Segaran
(Kuala Lumpur, Monday): A week ago, a judge in Santiago, the capital city of Chile, ordered house arrest for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet Ugarte on charges linked to his role in “Operation Condor”, a conspiracy of 1970s South American dictatorships to eliminate opponents.
Pinochet ruled Chile with an iron fist from 1973- after staging a bloody military coup against the democratically elected President Salvador Allende-to 1990. During this period, some 3,000 political opponents were killed by the regime.
Many other Chileans were tortured and simply “disappeared” during those notorious 17-year fascist rule of Pinochet.
Regrettably, in 1995 Pinochet was invited to Malaysia and given one of our highest awards. Mahathir was then Prime Minister, and Abdullah Badawi was our Foreign Minister. It was most unfortunate and embarrassing that the Malaysian Government then chose to give one of our highest awards to Pinochet, notoriously known throughout the world for his crimes against humanity.
Giving a top award to monster like Pinochet is both unjustified and indefensible. It is a gross insult to the memory of his may victims.
Now that Pinochet has been caught up by the law and judiciary in Chile itself, Malaysia should withdraw should withdraw that top award given him about ten years ago.
Malaysia should do the right thing by calling for Pinochet to be tried at the newly established International Criminal Court.
Two weeks ago I was in New Zealand to participate in an international conference on the International Criminal Court. I am more convinced than ever that the ICC is the most suitable and necessary venue for people like Pinochet.
* M.Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat