Anwar should fully support Bujang Valley as a world heritage site and China’s revival of Civilisational Dialogue theme

Karpal Singh has left many legacies — the rule of law, justice, good governance, and diversity of Malaysia as a land of many peoples, religions, and cultures.

Let me say something on the last item.

Three days ago, I was in Bujang Valley in Kedah where archaeological discoveries await confirmation that Malaysia has the oldest civilization of some 2,500 years, older than the 1,200 year-old Borobudur in Indonesia or the 1,000-year old Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Early this month, I was in Dunhuang with its spectacular Mogao Caves in the Gobi Desert, with their murals, sculptures, and treasury of manuscripts — a World Heritage Site as it was meeting point of Buddhist and Central Asian art and culture with Chinese civilisation — and Jiayuguan Pass at the end of Great Wall on the old Silk Road from Lanzhou to Urumqi.

What made my trip to China particularly momentous was the China proposal in the United Nations General Assembly on June 7 to make June 10 the International Day for Civilisational Dialogue.

I celebrated the first International Day on Civilisational Dialogue at the steppes in Xinjiang which gave me of a “Sound of Music” effect and environment with its rolling plains.

The Chinese resolution in the UN General Assembly, which was adopted unanimously, was most appropriate.

Thirty years ago, our Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was the foremost exponent of civilisational dialogue, countering the American political scientist, Samuel Huntington’s thesis of “The Clash of Civilisations”, even before the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution proposed by the then Iran President, Seyed Mohammad Khatami on 4th November 1998 to designate the year 2001 as the United Nations Year of the dialogue among Civilisations. Since then, the idea of dialogue among Civilisations had been made the object of a plethora of conferences and international meetings. But Anwar was responsible for an earlier Islam-Confucianism Civilisational Dialogue before he was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

This is the Asian century in the 21st century and all earthlings need a global mindset thinking beyond individuals, nations or even blocs of nations.

We thank the Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim for gracing this occasion.

The world has shrunk considerably from earlier civilisations and we must think in global terms.

What better than for Malaysia not only to fully support Bujang Valley in Kedah as a world heritage site, but also for Malaysia to support China’s revival of the Civilisational Dialogue theme in international society.

This will also further the legacy of Karpal Singh.


(Speech by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang at Reminiscing Karpal Singh luncheon at the Top Ballroom, Penang on Saturday, 29 June 2024)

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