October 24, 2012
Congratulations: Malaysian Bar Council wins United Nations Malaysian Award 2012
Note: Neither Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (who is in Jakarta for an ASEAN meeting), Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pillay , Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Richard Riot Anak Jaem nor Wisma Putra Secretary-General Tan Sri Radzi Abdul Rahman were present at this function.
Deputy Secretary-General II Dato’ Selvin Das was there in stead. He now enjoys the honour of being the lowest ranked Wisma Putra official ever to represent Malaysia at the UN Day function. To boot, he was so diplomatic in Malaysian style (biadab) that he did not return the traditional toast to the United Nations.
Tan Sri Razali Ismail, the first Malaysian to be United Nations General Assembly President who was at the function , was lucid and embarrassed by this display of arrogance and lack of diplomatic courtesy.
I have been reliably informed that this lack of high level representation is because Wisma Putra was not pleased with UN Resident Coordinator Kamal Malhotra’s speech. Mr Malhotra was critical of the Malaysian Budget 2013. Let us hope that there will be some reaction to my comments from Wisma Putra–Din Merican
The UN Malaysia Award was presented in recognition of the Malaysian Bar Council’s many years of invaluable, courageous and creative work in advancing the cause of democracy and human rights in Malaysia.
“This tribute is fitting, given the significant and long-standing contribution by the Bar Council in Malaysia to an environment that promotes the protection and effective fulfillment of democracy and human rights, key values embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator.
The UN Malaysia Award has been accorded on the anniversary of the United Nations, (UN Day as it has come to be known) since 1998, in recognition of the outstanding contributions of individuals or organisations toward the promotion of human rights, social justice and equality in the country. The focus of this year’s UN Malaysia Award is on democracy and development.
“The UN Malaysia Award this year recognises that an environment with genuine and independent democratic institutions and practices is essential for fostering long-term security and stability,” said Malhotra. “Such institutions and practices foster and allow for peaceful political dialogue; they create a conducive and legitimate environment for good governance, development, and for meeting basic human needs; and for the promotion and protection of human rights.”
“Democracy has emerged as a cross-cutting issue in the outcome of the major UN conferences and summits since the 1990s, and in internationally-agreed development goals produced by its member States, including the Millennium Development Goals. As UN Secretary General BAN Ki-moon indicated in his public lecture in Kuala Lumpur when he visited Malaysia in March this year, it is also one of the top five priorities for his second term, which began in January 2012,” said Malhotra.
Malhotra added that in November 2007, the UN Secretary-General initiated the development of a strategy for supporting democracy, emphasizing that democracy is inextricably linked to the three pillars of the work of the United Nations – peace and security, development, and human rights.
In presenting the UN Malaysia Award to the Malaysian Bar Council, the UN in Malaysia acknowledges the contribution of the Council in advancing democracy in Malaysia, particularly through its 66-year commitment to guarding the rule of law, defending human rights and public interest, and speaking out against abuse of power by those in authority.
Past recipients of the UN Malaysia Award include individuals, such as Tan Sri Razali Ismail, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, and Datuk Dr. Raj Abdul Karim, and organisations, such as Ward 54 of Hospital Sungai Buloh, the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Royal Malaysian Police, and the Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC).
The 67th Anniversary of the United Nations was launched by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senator A. Kohilan Pillay.
At the same event, the late Professor Khoo Kay Jin, renowned Malaysian intellectual and social scientist, was posthumously recognised for his years of outstanding service and tireless contributions in the areas of poverty eradication, democratisation and development in Malaysia.
Among his many distinguished roles, Professor Khoo was also the lead author of the UN-Government of Malaysia report on the Millennium Development Goals at 2010, and had worked on a joint UNDP and Economic Planning Unit initiative to identify strategies to eradicate poverty and improve employment and equity restructuring in Sabah and Sarawak.
UN day is celebrated in 189 countries around the world to mark the founding of the organization on the principles of justice, peace, equality and human rights as ratified in its Charter on 24 October 1945.