Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dialogue or Censor........

We missed the opportunity to move Malaysia closer towards a civil society when we stopped all dialogue because of a handful of narrow minded people. Article 11 is an NGO set up to uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

We could shut the issues in the closet and wait another 20 years to discuss but we will have missed out …Sadirah in a letter to Malaysiakini put it well…

Pak Lah, please don’t tell us to shut up
Sadirah K
Sep 4, 06 5:56pm
I hope Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would not advise us from raising sensitive issues. We are currently facing several sensitive issues relating to religion and governance. The government should consider this as appropriate feedback and give the people some assurance. No point just sweeping these issues under the carpet as though they do not exist. Only considered discussions born out of respect will help us move forward. We must thus act and do something and we need an assurance from the government that they are doing so and will come out with appropriate possibilities. Just telling everyone to shut up is no solution in the 21st century after 49 years of independence.
Article 11
The coalition of NGOs known as Article 11 is committed to embracing, upholding and pursuing the realization of the following principles as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and Human Rights Conventions:
1. no citizen shall be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender
2. parents (both mother and father) are equal guardians and have equal say in all respects of the upbringing of children
3. children shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the grounds of religion and in all cases, the interests of children shall be paramount
4. the freedom of thought, conscience and belief for all persons shall be fully respected, guaranteed and protected
5. every citizen has a responsibility to condemn discrimination and intolerance based on religion or belief
6. every citizen has a responsibility to apply religion or belief in support of human dignity and peace

Article 11 is fully committed to upholding those fundamental rights for all Malaysians regardless of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender.

The role of government is to protect the rights of those who wish to speak, not to quelch speech. All the more when there is opportunity to dialogue on such an important issue facing the nation as the eroding of the Federal Constitution which the founding fathers established as the document for all Malaysians to find protection and refuge.


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