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Speech by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP Dinner in Serian, Sarawak on Saturday, 29th August 2009 at 9 pm: 

Malaysia in past weeks suffered unprecedented battery of adverse world media coverage which gravely undermine our international competitiveness and goal to become developed high-income country

In the past weeks, Malaysia suffered from an unprecedented battery of adverse world media coverage which gravely undermine our international competitiveness by frightening off intending foreign investors and highly detrimental to the national goal to become a developed high-income country.

The latest incident which has put Malaysia in a very bad light internationally is the global media coverage of yesterday’s Shah Alam cow-head sacrilege in a protest against the construction of a Hindu temple, something which had not happened in 52 years of Malaysian nation building and raising the grave question whether the country is moving towards greater religious intolerance and polarization – and what this means to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan.

Other adverse international media coverage of Malaysia in the past weeks include:

  • The caning sentence imposed by a Pahang Syariah Court on part-time model Kartika Seri Dewi Shukarno's for consuming beer;

  • News of government decision to restrict Muslims from attending the concert of international pop sensation Black Eye Peas;

  • News report on the eve of the Permatang Pasir by-election polling that Selangor mosque officials were being empowered to arrest Muslims consuming alcohol or found working in establishments that serve, store or display alcoholic beverages. (Although this was subsequently clarified and denied by the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim extensive damage had already been done).

  • The mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16.

  • The “mother of all scandals” haunting the national political landscape – the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

The backdrop of these disturbing events cast a pall on the 52nd National Day celebrations in some 36 hours’ time.

For Sarawak and Sabah, marking the 46th anniversary of their participation in Malaysia, many questions are also being asked as to why Sarawakians, whether Ibans, Bidayuhs, Chinese and Malays have been left out from the mainstream of national development apart from a handful of the privileged few.

Sarawak is a very wealthy state in terms of natural resources like petroleum and timber but in predominantly-Bidayuh Serian parliamentary constituency, the people are still without the most basic necessities before a country can claim to be developed – reflected by the fact that many schools in the area are still without piped water and electricity.

For close to half a century, the promise that Sarawakians and Sabahans will enjoy fairly and equitably in the fruits of development in the state and nation have not been honoured, leaving the people in Sarawak with many teeming socio-economic problems, such as basic infrastructures like health, education, roads, piped water and electricity; and for Bidayuhs and Dayaks, the grave problem of Native Customary Land titles.

National Day on August 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept. 16 will only be meaningful to ordinary Sarawakians if their basic rights to development and to the most basic infrastructures could be met and their aspirations to be equal citizens of the Sarawak state and Malaysian nation given full recognition.

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



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