Proposal for a seven-nation committee including Malaysia to plan the implementation of China’s proposal that June 10 every year should be designated International Civilisational Dialogue Day

I am disappointed by the Sungai Bakap by-election result yesterday, as I had hoped that following the Unity Government’s victory at the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election, we can also win in Sungai Bakap and embark on the task of making Malaysia a great world-class nation again.

A lesson that Malaysia must rapidly learn is to control the abuses of social media, which had been used to spread lies and falsehoods to divide the country.

The DAP was accused of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam, of wanting for Malaysia to be dominated by the Chinese or even worse, of wanting to eliminate the Malays and Islam from Malaysia.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The DAP is a Malaysian organisation comprising all the races, religions, and states in the country.

We want Malaysia to be a great world-class nation and not a failed country, and this is possible if we follow the moderate path and get the best from all the races and religions in the country.

But all is not lost as illustrated by the election of a moderate candidate, Masoud Pezeshkian as the ninth president of Iran yesterday.

We must return to the moderate compact all communities, religions and states reached in the Malaysian Constitution pledging Malaysia will be a moderate country and while Islam is the official religion, all Malaysians can practice in peace and harmony their religious beliefs.

Last 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 memorable 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 for Civilisational Dialogue at the steppes in Xinjiang 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.

The world must make China’s proposal to designate June 10 every year as the International Day for Civilisational Dialogue more successful than Iran’s proposal to the year 2001 the United Nations Year of the dialogue among the Civilisations.

We have ancient and current civilisations and I propose a seven-nation committee in the United Nations to implement China’s proposal of June 10 every year as International Day for Civilisational Dialogue — the nations being China, India, United States, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and Malaysia.

The inclusion of Malaysia is because Malaysia is the meeting point of various civilisations, in particular Islamic, Chinese, Indian, and Western.


(Speech by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang at the Negeri Sembilan DAP Veterans Club Dinner in Mambau, Negeri Sembilan on Sunday, 7th July 2024 at 8 pm)

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