KUALA LUMPUR: An activist has called on Putrajaya to lead reconciliation efforts on past acrimonious incidents so that the country can move on and those denied justice can obtain it.
These incidents, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) adviser Kua Kia Soong said, included the Batang Kali and Memali massacres, the May 13 riots, the death of Teoh Beng Hock and the revocation of Chinese educationist Lim Lian Geok’s citizenship in the 1960s.
He also cited the Malayan Emergency, saying the communal aspect of that incident had left scars that had lasted to this day as politicians continue to play up the issue to gain support.
“The government has to take the lead in these reconciliation efforts. They do not need big budgets,” he said on the sidelines of the “Reclaiming Truth and Justice” event held in conjunction with the 2019 Human Rights Week.
“They just have to be sincere. Look at Lim’s case. The government doesn’t have to spend anything; they just need to reinstate his citizenship.”
Lim, who founded the education group Dong Zong, had his citizenship and teaching licence revoked in 1961 after he opposed the Rahman Talib Report which proposed, among others, that government financial assistance be only given to national-type schools.
“His citizenship was taken away just because he opposed the government, just as how many, including myself, Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh were detained under Ops Lalang.”
He said it was not right for the government to strip someone of his citizenship due to their opposition and that reinstating Lim’s citizenship will gain the government a lot of goodwill from the Chinese community as Lim was a highly-respected figure in the community.
Kua said for issues like May 13, Batang Kali or Memali, the government could hold tribunals so that the victims and witnesses involved could share the truth on what had happened.
Government documents on these incidents, he added, could also be declassified and those responsible for injustices given the chance to apologise.
The tribunals, he said, could also propose remedial action.