Call on the government and civil society to commemorate in a meaningful manner four important dates in the next two months to improve the quality of life of all Malaysians

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang,  Thursday): The government and the civil society should commemorate in a meaningful manner four important dates in the next two months to improve the quality of life of all Malaysians, viz:

  • March 8, 2003 - International Women's Day

  • April 7, 2003 - World Health Day

  • May 1, 2003 - May Day

  • May 3, 2003 - World Press Freedom Day

The International Women's Day on March 8 was established in 1977 by the United Nations to provide an opportunity to reflect on the progress made to advance women's equality, to assess the challenges facing women in contemporary society, to consider future steps to enhance the status of women and to celebrate the gains made in these areas.

One meaningful way for Malaysians to celebrate the International Women's Day on March 8 is to use the occasion to conduct an annual review of the progress made to give substance to the amendment to Article 8(2) of the Malaysian Constitution prohibiting any discrimination against Malaysians on grounds of sex or gender and the extent women have been able to achieve breakthroughs to crash the "glass ceiling" they face in all fields of national endeavour, whether in appointments as university vice chancellors or to the highest judicial offices of the land such as Chief Judge of the High Court, President of the Appeals Court or Chief Justice of the Federal Court.

On April 7th each year, the world celebrates World Health Day to mark the importance of health for productive and happy lives. This year, the theme for World Health Day is "Healthy Environments for Children". This is a grim reminder of the millions of children that die annually from environmentally related illnesses and who could be saved through the creation of healthy settings, whether it be the home, the school, or the community at large.

May Day on May 1st, the International Workers' Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world.

May 3 each year is the World Press Freedom Day to remember and celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to encourage and develop press freedom initiatives, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.
For Malaysia, there is a common underlying theme that should unite these four important dates - the rights of women, children and workers to healthy and productive lives which have come under an unprecedented threat by the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history and which is still raging on unchecked causing more and more unnecessary and avoidable deaths, and the right and responsibility of the press to report the dengue epidemic to minimise human suffering, save lives and demand greater government responsibility to ensure high public health care for the people.

The World Press Freedom Day this year should focus in particular on the "developmental" role which the Malaysian press had played, or failed to play, to help the nation and people avert the worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history, which had killed at least 100 people last year, caused some 20 deaths in the first two months of the year and will claim more lives in the next few months as the epidemic is expected to last until May this year.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman