DAP calls on Mahathir government to spearhead a nation-wide month-long
commemoration of centenary of birth of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Bapa Malaysia and
first Prime Minister, on Feb. 8 starting with a National Inter-Religious
Prayer Meeting and Dialogue for unity, harmony, justice and prosperity
by Lim Kit Siang
February 8 will mark the centenary of the birth of YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman
Putra, Bapa Malaysia and our first Prime Minister, who led the nation to
History records his many contributions and the world at large acknowledges
his contributions as a statesman, a nation builder and as a singularly
unique historical figure. Many biographies have been written paying tribute
to a man who laid the foundations for a modern, democratic, secular Malaysia
welded out of a diverse mix of ethnicities.
He personified decency, a deeply-held belief in the rule of law and respect
for tradition. Malaysians of all races hold him in the highest respect.
It is customary among all nations to pay tribute to their founding fathers
and to remind their citizens with pride of the deep debt owed, particularly
on the occasion of the birth anniversaries of such distinguished sons of the
It is indeed with great sadness that I note that no plans have been made to
commemorate the Tunku's centenary.
The Tunku's centenary should not be allowed to be a non-event, unmarked in
any manner, and the contributions of the most illustrious son of Malaysia
unacknowledged and ignored.
DAP calls on the Mahathir government to spearhead a nation-wide
month-long commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Tunku Abdul
It will in fact be an indictment of the present generation of
Malaysians, both the leadership and the ordinary citizenry, if Tunku's
centenary is allowed to pass without a worthy and commensurate national
commemoration not only to remember his contributions and services to the
nation but for the nation to pause and reflect on his legacy and injunctions
to future generations of Malaysians.
Twenty years ago, on his 80th birthday on 8th February 1983, Tunku was
honoured with a grand dinner hosted by the Barisan Nasional, attended by all
the top Barisan Nasional leaders including the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad where the Tunku made a most memorable speech giving the
important message to the Barisan Nasional leaders not to turn Malaysia into
an Islamic State - which was the front-page headline in all the language
newspapers the next day.
Let all political parties, religious groups, professional bodies, NGOs and
all strata of the Malaysian society, regardless of race, religion, political
opinion, gender, age or territory come together as one Malaysian people to
honour the memory of Tunku on his centenary.
Malaysians should commemorate Tunku's centenary in specially meaningful and
even unique manner to honour his memory and for the new generation of
Malaysians rededicate themselves to his abiding dream for a happy, united,
harmonious and prosperous Malaysia.
One unique way to commemorate Tunku's centenary will be to hold a national
inter-religious prayer meeting led by the Prime Minister with the
participation of leaders of all political parties - ruling and opposition -
and representatives from all religious groups, professions, civic
organizations and NGOs, to pray for unity, harmony, justice, prosperity and
happiness for Malaysia.
Tunku's centenary will be even more meaningful and momentous if the Tunku's
Centennial National Inter-Religious Prayer Meeting can be followed with the
first National Inter-Religious Dialogue for National Unity and Harmony in
the past three decades.
DAP is prepared to fully participate in the centenary commemoration for
Tunku, whether organized by the government or by other umbrella
organizations. DAP on its part will also have its own month-long
commemoration programme for Tunku's centenary nation-wide.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National