M'sia must not ratify Icerd until all understand it is not a threat

    (Updated )

    MP SPEAKS | Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi questioned the faith of Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah for wanting the government to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).

    He is among Malay political leaders who warned that the Malays will run amok if Icerd is ratified by the Malaysian government.

    PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said it was compulsory for Muslims to oppose Icerd while the organisers of this Saturday's anti-Icerd rally said that the rally was not aimed at other races but at the “traitors” of the nation.

    The PAS president is the vice-president of the International Union of Muslims Scholars but I do not know whether he had ever used the platform of the IUMS to urge the 55 Muslim countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) who had ratified Icerd to unratify themselves so as to save 99 percent of the 1.9 billion Muslims in the world who live in the 179 countries which had ratified Icerd would not become traitors of Islam.

    Malaysia’s 19 million Muslims only comprise one percent of the world’s population of 1.9 billion Muslims. In any event, PAS only enjoys minority support from the Malays Muslims in the country as illustrated by the results of the recent 14th general election.

    The proposal for the ratification of Icerd does not stem from a secret agenda to undermine the Malaysian Constitution or the attack the position of the Malays, Islam and the rulers.

    I think I cannot do better than to quote from the from my friend, Tamrin Tun Ghafar, who ended his latest blog posting, entitled “Icerd atau Icuri?”, thus:

    “19. Perbezaan begitu ketara sekali apabila Kerajaan PH yang dipimpin oleh Tun Dr Mahathir selaku perdana menteri tidak teragak – agak membenarkan rakyat berhimpun pada 08/12/18 dengan syarat mereka mesti menghormati Perlembagaan dan undang–undang.

    “20. Tidakkah Zahid selaku presiden Umno dan pengerusi BN yang pernah melakukan apa saja yang boleh bagi menggagalkan segala apa yang hendak dilakukan oleh pembangkang ketika itu sedar dan merasa malu dengan kelulusan yang diberi bagi memudahkan perhimpunan pada 8 Disember nanti?

    “21. Perhimpunan kali ini agak unik sedikit kerana buat pertama kalinya Umno dan PAS akan bersama seperti pasangan pengantin tua yang hampir senja.

    “22. Bagi menjaga air muka masing-masing, Zahid dan Hadi terpaksa meneruskan perhimpunan pada 8 Disember ini bagi membantah Iced sedangkan kerajaan sendiri telah mengumumkan secara rasmi bahawa kerajaan tidak akan menandatangi deklarasi tersebut.

    “23. Oleh kerana berbagai publisiti telah dibuat begitu juga ribuan wang ringgit telah dibelanjakan maka perhimpunan ini suka tak suka terpaksa diteruskan dengan alasan – alasan yang remeh.

    “24. Saya dan ramai lagi akan sama – sama turun padang jika sekiranya perhimpunan itu diadakan bagi menuntut dari Najib dan keluarganya memulangkan semula duit rakyat yang disamun mereka melalui 1MDB.

    “25. Begitu juga beratus juta ringgit lesap daripada Tabung Haji yang mana tujuh juta orang Islam terutama makcik dan pakcik di kampung menabung di Lembaga itu bagi memudahkan mereka ke Mekah.

    “26. Timbalan Presiden PAS Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man memaklumkan perhimpunan itu akan diadakan bagi melakukan doa dan solat kesyukuran kerana kerajaan tidak akan menandatangani Icerd.

    “27. Hadi pula dengan alasan hendak mengajar menteri-menteri yang tidak menghormati perdana menteri.

    “28. Zahid dan beberapa ahli UMNO pula mahu memprotes Icerd.

    “29. Dengan berbagai alasan diberikan mereka, ini semua membuktikan mereka ini bodoh sombong yang tak boleh diajar.

    “30. Kan lebih bermakna jika mereka gunakan perhimpunan ini menuntut Najib, Rosmah dan Jho Low memulangkan kembali harta rakyat yang mereka rompak dari senyap seribu bahasa dan berpeluk tubuh tidak bersuara.

    “31.Yang akan berkumandang di udara ialah laungan ‘Takbir’ dan ‘Hidup Najib’ bukannya ‘Najib , pulangkan duit kami’.”

    Recently, Malaysians have been the victims of the many myths and misconceptions about Icerd, as a result of the escalation of the toxic politics of lies, hate, race and religion by political desperadoes and opportunists in Umno and PAS.

    Firstly, Icerd is in congruence with not only Islam but many religions and teachings and it is a downright lie to claim that ratifying Icerd would undermine the position of Islam.

    This is why most of the Muslim-majority countries of the world, including Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries such as Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia have ratified the Icerd.

    Secondly, Icerd and the Malaysian Federal Constitution are compatible with one another. There is the misconception that if Malaysia were to ratify Icerd, Article 153 would have to be removed. In fact, Article 153 is not inconsistent with the aims of Icerd as Articles 1(4) and 2(2) of Icerd seek to bring about effective or substantive equality, and not merely formal or superficial equality.

    Thirdly, Icerd does not undermine the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and result in the abolition of the system of Malay Sultans.

    There are 38 countries with the monarchical system, out of which 36 countries have ratified the Icerd including the United Kingdom in 1969, Norway 1970, Sweden 1971, Denmark 1971, Netherlands 1971, Jordan 1974, Belgium 1975, Japan in 1995, and Saudi Arabia 1997.

    There are absolutely no indications that the ratification of Icerd by these 36 countries have undermined the monarchical system as to lead to their abolition.

    As I said at the Malaysian Association of Jiansu Annual Gala Dinner in Suchou, China a day after the Cabinet announced its decision not to ratify Icerd, the Cabinet decision, although a setback to build a New Malaysia, is understandable.

    No Malaysian would want Malaysia to ratify the Icerd at the price of another May 13 racial riot in the country, as there are irresponsible elements seeking to incite and escalate racial and religious distrust, animosity and hatred to engender the conditions to replicate another May 13 racial riot in Malaysia, talking about the Malays running amok and “rindu May 13”.

    Malaysia should not ratify Icerd until the majority of the races and religions in Malaysia supports it and understand that it no threat to the various races, religions or the Federal Constitution but a step forward to join the world in promoting human rights.

    The Icerd issue is a warning to all Malaysians that their “New Malaysia” vision which was the cause of the historic May 9, 2018 decision which saw a peaceful and democratic transition of power for the first in six decades, and gave hope to the world that democracy as a system of government to achieve freedom, justice and good governance for the people in the world, can still fail if we allow political opportunists and desperadoes to exploit the toxic politics of lies, hatred, race and religion to the extent of unleashing racial and religious conflicts.

    LIM KIT SIANG is Iskandar Puteri MP.

    The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini

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