DAP calls on Cabinet to honour Tunku's birthday centennial by
proclaiming February 8 as a Bapa Malaysia Day to be celebrated nationally
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
Wednesday): There are two important
dates in this month of February. The first one is February 8, as 100 years
ago on this date, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime
Minister of Malaysia was born. The second is February 21, the International
Mother Language Day (IMLD).
In any other country, the birthday centenary of the father of the nation
would be an important and grand affair with meaningful commemorative events
up and down the country by both the government and the civil society in
honour of his memory, contribution and legacy.
In Malaysia however, the government nearly forgot about Tunku's birthday
centenary until the DAP publicly reminded the Cabinet about it a month
before the anniversary, suggesting that the government spearhead a
month-long celebration of Tunku's birthday centenary.
This led to a hurried and last-minute decision by the government to go
through the formality of celebrating the Tunku's birthday centenary without
any serious intention to spearhead a series of meaningful nation-wide
commemoration events in honour of the memory, contribution and legacy of
This may be why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had not
said a single word on Tunku's birthday centenary, although in the past
three-and-half weeks he had commented on almost every subject, big and
small, national and international, under the sun.
The government has also not organized any meanginful month-long celebrations
to commemorate Tunku's birthday centenary, although Pos Malaysia's
commemorative postage stamp would be launched only next month - simply
because the commemorative stamp could not be ready in time on February 8 as
the government decision to commemorate the Tunku's 100th birthday was so
hurried and last-minute!
The government's shabby treatment of the Tunku's birthday centenary in the
past three weeks is clear for all to see, which is most shameful and unfair
to Bapa Malaysia and Bapa Kemerdekaan. DAP calls on the Cabinet to rectify
such gross oversight, and honour Tunku's birthday centennial by proclaiming
February 8 as a Bapa Malaysia Day to be celebrated nationally every year.
DAP will organize a year-long nation-wide Tunku's birthday centenary
commemoration in honour of his memory, contribution and legacy where eminent
and distinguished Malaysians will be invited to share their memories and
thoughts on Tunku's contributions and legacy to the Malaysian people and
nation and what lessons they hold for the future of Malaysia.
The launch-off for the year-long nation-wide Tunku's birthday centenary
commemoration will be a "Tunku's Centennial 1903-2003 - Night of
Remembrance" at the Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya on Friday, March 7,
2003 at 8 p.m which is open to the public.
Among the speakers at the "Tunku's Centenneial 1903-2003 - Night of
Dr. Chandra Muzzaffar - JUST President;
Datuk Param Cumaraswamy - UN Special Rapporteur for the
independence of judges and lawyers;
Professor Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas - former Vice Chancellor,
University of Malaya;
Zainur Zakaria - former President, Bar Council;
Datuk P.G. Lim, former ambassador to United Nations;
Said Zahari - former editor, Utusan Melayu;
Dr. Chen Man Hin - DAP National Chairman 1966-1999;
Karpal Singh - DAP National Deputy Chairman and leading
constitutional and criminal lawyer;
Lim Kit Siang - Parliamentary Opposition Leader 1973-1999
Centennial Tunku Remembrance functions would also be held in
Ipoh on 11th April and in Penang on 9th May 2003.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National