Cabinet Ministers should explain why Cabinet yesterday failed to take a strong stand against Taliban destruction of ancient Buddhist statues as a crime against world's common heritage

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Cabinet Ministers should explain why the Cabinet at its meeting yesterday failed to take a strong stand against the Taliban destruction of ancient Buddhist statues as a crime against  the world's common heritage.

The MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik and the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should in particular explain why their strong denunciation of the medieval barbarism of the Talibans in embarking on a spree of cultural massacre, and even suggesting that there are Talibans to be found in Malaysian midst, have not been reflected in a strong Cabinet stand on the issue.

The Cabinet failed at the first available opportunity in the previous week to take a stand against the Taliban desecration of mankind's priceless cultural treasures and yesterday there was again no strong stand on the issue.

Although the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar came out with a statement on Monday expressing Malaysia's "concern" and joined other nations of the world in "appealing" to the Taliban to reconsider the destruction of the pre-Islamic Bamiyan Buddha statues, there is an urgent  need for the Malaysian government to strengthen its stand against the tragedy and crime against mankind's cultural heritage in view of the Taliban defiance of world opinion and outrage.

After his first visit to Afghanistan, the United Nations special envoy Pierre Lafrance believes there is little hope of persuading the Taliban militia to preserve the country's ancient statues although he is set for a second visit.

The destruction of the giant statues of Buddha poses a grave threat to mankind's  heritage as the Taliban is emulating the regimes of Pol Pot and Hitler  bent on its polices of annihilation and cultural genocide.

Malaysia will be abdicating from our international responsibilities if we flinch from playing a leading role to mobilise  the international society to try to stop the Taliban medieval barbarism from commiting the tragedy and crime of cultural genocide.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman