Human Rights Lawyer: PG Lim and Her Era Book Launch Ceremony

Front row, from left: Dr Ho, Prof Ewe, Tun Michael Chen, Datin Paduka Chew, Tan and Dr Lim with participants

UTAR Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Social and Policy Studies (TCLC) hosted Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun’s book launch at Sungai Long Campus on 23 July 2019. The book, titled “Human Rights Lawyer: PG Lim and Her Era”, was initially the master’s thesis of Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun which won her the Best MA Dissertation Award 2013 in Professor Lim Chooi Kwa’s Best Dissertation Award Conferring Ceremony. She completed this research for her master’s degree in Chinese Studies at UTAR in the year 2013.

Present at the book launch were Chairman of Westlake International School and Deputy-Chairman of Malaysian South-South Corporation Berhad (MASSCORP) Tun Michael Chen Wing Sum, UTAR President Ir Prof Academician Dato’ Dr Chuah Hean Teik, Vice President for Internationalisation and Academic Development Prof Ir Dr Ewe Hong Tat, book reviewer Dr Ho Khai Leong, Hai-O Enterprise Berhad Group Executive Chairman Tan Kai Hee, Adjunct Professor of UTAR Chinese Studies Prof Datuk Dr Lim Chooi Kwa, Founder of TOMEI Group Tan Sri Dr Datuk Ng Teck Fong, Institute of Chinese Studies Dean Assoc Prof Dr Chong Siou Wei, distinguished guests, UTAR staff and students.

Prof Chuah, Tun Michael Chen, Tan and Datin Paduka Chew during the book launch

Delivering his speech at the ceremony, Tun Michael Chen expressed his pleasure for being invited to the ceremony. He shared his experience of working with Lim Phaik Gan as her assistant in the law firm, saying that he has learnt a lot from her. He also highlighted the value of the book and encouraged the participants to read the book.

On behalf of Prof Chuah, Prof Ewe warmly welcomed the guests and all the participants to the book launch ceremony. Commenting on the book, he said it provided a better understanding on Malaysia’s first woman ambassador and Cambridge-trained lawyer Lim Phaik Gan as well as her era and family background, which would in turn provide more understanding about Straits Settlement’s intellectuals who had grown up under the Western Education auspices of the British colonialists and their contribution in the process of nation-building in Malaysia.

He said, “I hope that the publication of the book will help to narrow the divide between the Chinese-educated Chinese and the Straits Chinese and promote better understanding about these groups.” He then continued, “Breaking the cultural barrier between ethnic groups, promoting mutual understanding and building a better multicultural harmonious society are the common aspirations of our nation and the vision of our University. It is also the purpose of the establishment of Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Social and Policy Studies.”

In her sharing session, Datin Paduka Chew said, “The exploration of Lim Phaik Gan’s life gave me a better understanding about the history of Chinese ancestors and our nation, ethnic politics, Straits Chinese community, Chinese community and Chinese education. It also provided me an opportunity to know Malaysia from a different perspective.” She also talked about her personal experience, sharing the process of completing her research and her interview experience with Lim Phaik Gan.

Tun Michael Chen sharing his personal story with the participants

She thanked everyone who had supported her and expressed her appreciation to Tan Kai Hee and President of the Asean-China Economic and Trade Promotion Association Datuk Ng Kek Kiong for donating the book to Chinese high schools, Chinese independent high schools, colleges and universities.

“Human Rights Lawyer: PG Lim and Her Era” is written in Chinese over 144 pages, chronicling the achievements of human rights lawyer and Malaysia’s first female diplomat, the late Tan Sri Lim Phaik Gan. The book hopes to bridge the barriers between the Chinese community and the English-educated Chinese to promote a greater understanding of these English-educated Chinese group; to address the lack of research on the Straits Chinese, as well as to specifically supplement research knowledge in the spheres of social, legal, human rights, women’s movement and role of public officials. It also hopes to fill the knowledge gap of female representative figures in the Malaysian Chinese history and its character study, and contribute to a comprehensive representation of Malaysian history.

Lim Phaik Gan, as inter-disciplinary Straits elite, has carved a very clear footprint in the participation of the country’s development history. This has proven that besides those Straits Chinese who are party leaders like Tan Cheng Lock, Tan Siew Sin, Lim Kean Siew and Lee Kuan Yew, other notable Straits Chinese have also contributed to nation-building in Malaysia.

Datin Paduka Chew thanking everyone for the support

Dr Chong, Prof Chuah, Tun Michael Chen, Tan, Datin Paduka Chew and Dr Lim during the book presentation ceremony