THE Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) award that carries the ‘Tan Sri’ title bestowed on Datuk Lim Phaik Gan (better known as P.G.Lim), in conjunction with the recent birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, is indeed a well-deserved honour.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, recently in highlighting “Malaysia, one of the countries with opportunities accessible to women” paid Lim a glowing tribute when he said, “Datuk Lim Phaik Gan is well-respected as one of the country’s pioneer female lawyers.
“During his administration, my late father appointed her Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in 1971, the first Malaysian woman to hold the post.
“Her contributions have been invaluable to the growth of the nation”.
Nonagenarian Lim is a woman of great achievements and accomplishments: UN representative, diplomat, noted lawyer, union champion, director of the KL Regional Centre for Arbitration, feminist, wife and mother...all woven into one distinguished grand lady.
Lim always stood up for people who didn’t have “voices” and in her heyday the Cambridge-educated lawyer fought some of the most well-known courtroom life-and-death battles.
She was equally well regarded in the trade union movement especially for advising and representing, in the late 1950s, the Railwaymen’s Union of Malaya, the National Union of Plantation Workers and the Transport Workers’ Union, among others, in their legal battles to secure improved working conditions, wages and benefits.
Appointed to serve in the United Nations as Malaysia’s first woman ambassador, her 10-year tenure in the foreign service led her across Europe in various diplomatic assignments.
Lim was the recipient of the prestigious 2009 Merdeka Award for her outstanding contributions to the nation.