Efforts of unsung heroes must continue for better 2018


PETALING JAYA: In a New Year message, DAP’s Charles Santiago lauded the efforts of the nation’s “unsung heroes” who have shown in the past year a desire for a better Malaysia.

Calling them extraordinary, the Klang MP said it also proved that ultimately, the responsibility for a better Malaysia lies with the public.

“I would like to celebrate the unsung heroes who fought for a better Malaysia despite knowing that it would be an arduous battle.

“The answer for the country’s woes is in the continuous demand for good governance, transparency and accountability from both ruling and opposition politicians,” he said in a statement, listing some of the issues which hit the headlines in the past 12 months.

“We saw dark days in 2017 with rising racism and xenophobia, abuse of power for political gains, deaths in police custody, corruption, rising crime, continued marginalisation of the poor, increasing transphobia and hate crimes against the LGBT community, clamping down on dissent, persecution of opposition politicians and human rights activists, heightened censorship on filmmakers, tightening of lid on the media and a government hell bent on ignoring all these issues, for political power and greed.”

Santiago then listed the efforts made towards changing some or all of the above.

“Together, we fought for the opening up of the democratic space in the country for freedom of expression and assembly, we fought for the ratification of core human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the UN Convention Against Torture, we fought for preventive detention without judicial review and the rise in custodial deaths, we pushed for a health budget that is 7% of the GDP in accordance with the World Health Organisation and fought hard for the setting up of a national cancer fund.

“May 2018 see a continuum of this strong response from the people as it’s the best defence of the values entrenched in democratic principles and our Federal Constitution,” he said.

Wishing Malaysians ringing in the new year with family, friends “lots of food and laughter”, Santiago wished for 2018 to see a continuum of a strong response from the people as it’s the best defence of the values entrenched in democratic principles and our Federal Constitution.

“In doing so, may it be the year that sends a clear message that power lies in the hands of the people.

“Others may welcome 2018 on a smaller scale, but all of us are hoping for the coming year to be a better one.”

Referring to the general election, Santiago also called for the government to ensure it is a fair fight.

“As Prime Minister Najib Razak’s mandate runs out ahead of the general election, I call on the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition government to guarantee full political and civil rights plus media freedom in the country.”