KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s declaration not to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) today is regarded by some Malay people, political parties, and non-governmental organisations (NGO) as a positive development and a relief.
The Prime Minister’s Office in its statement today (Nov.23) said, Pakatan Harapan (PH) Government will defend the Federal Constitution that stipulates the social contract which has been agreed upon by the representatives of all races in the formation of Malaysia.
It said PH government will not ratify the ICERD but instead defend the Federal Constitution.
The ICERD issues have been discussed publicly by many concerned parties for quite some time. It has not only triggered tensions and discomfort amongst the Malays, UMNO, Pas and NGOs but also the public at large.
Several concerned NGOs have circulated petition letters for the people to reject the ratification of ICERD and this movement in a way have stirred awareness and heightened the spirit of the people to defend the Federal Constitution especially Article 153.
The Article is related to reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits etc for the Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Following the sentiments of the people, the Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in a statement has said, the ratification of ICERD is almost impossible and sensitive to be implemented in Malaysia with its diverse race, culture and religion.
The issue went to its climax when the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (National Unity and Social Well-Being) Senator Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy video interview where he spoke on discrimination amongst the Indians in Malaysia with a foreign journalist about 10 years ago went viral in the media social.
He was then the Hindraf President and the interview was during the Barisan Nasional’s regime. The Hindraf movement had gained the attention of the government when they organised massive demonstrations in the streets.
Following BN’s election victory in May 2013, Waytha was appointed as a deputy minister by then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
However he resigned less than a year later, alleging the then government of going back on its pledge to help Indians as promised in a memorandum between Hindraf and BN.
Waytha in a statement also said that he had no regrets of speaking up for the Indian poor and the authorities’ treatment on them.
In another development, the rally against ICERD ratification that will be held on December 8 will be on but becomes a celebratory gathering rebranded as “Assembly of the Rakyat’s Victory and Gratitude in Rejecting ICERD.”
Pas mouthpiece, Harakah on its website said it welcomes the Prime Minister’s Office statement and added that the rally which is jointly organised with UMNO at the Dataran Merdeka will now include prayers and speeches.-Malaysia World News