There must be limits to freedom, Dr M says of human rights

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has insisted against accepting wholesale an international concept of human rights, saying it comes from a Western value system. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has insisted against accepting wholesale an international concept of human rights, saying it comes from a Western value system. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has insisted against accepting wholesale an international concept of human rights, saying it comes from a Western value system.

Instead, he said that communities in Malaysia have their own values that must be respected, and there needs to be limits on freedoms.

“Human right is based on cultural, the value system of the Western people [There is some issue] in which the people [in the East] regard that as normal.

“But now they asked to change to have more freedom, but we also have to determine some limits to the freedom. Nothing is absolute,” he said during “The Future of Democracy in Asia” event held in Chatham House, London.

The prime minister said that it would create a problem to the certain community if one has the freedom and did certain things that the community do not accept.

“So, people should be sensitive to the value system of the community,” he said.

He reiterated that what is a value system in the European country is not the same as a value system in Malaysia.

“So, our ratification or our exceeding to the ideas about human rights coming out of the European community will not be the same.

“There will be certain restrictions and we should be given that right to have our own value system and to stabilise our country,” Dr Mahathir added.

In his recent address to the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, Dr Mahathir has pledged that Putrajaya will ratify all remaining core UN instruments related to the protection of human rights. 

But this comes as he said last month that Putrajaya will not accept calls for LGBT rights and same-sex marriage.

Dr Mahathir said LGBT rights and same-sex marriages would remain unaccepted by Malaysians, despite their acceptance elsewhere.