KUALA LUMPUR: The government has decided against ratifying the contentious International Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
This was confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Office in an official statement issued today, claiming the government would continue to defend the Federal Constitution.
“The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will not ratify ICERD,” the statement read.
“We will continue to defend our constitution which, among other things, includes the social contract that has been agreed by the representatives of all races during the formation of the country.
The proposed ratification of ICERD has been a central issue in the country, with the opposition, in particular, condemning the government’s plan to ratify the convention, saying it would take away the special rights of the Malays.
This is despite the government, on several occasions, giving assurance that the matter does not arise, guaranteeing that Article 153 of the constitution — which talks about special rights — would not be compromised.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously said implementing ICERD was be impossible as it would entail amending the constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority in the parliament, something the PH government does not enjoy currently.
Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the prime minister-in-waiting, had also objected to the ratification of the convention, calling for the government to suspend its plans until all issues concerning the matter were ironed out.
He had said that this was to avoid public tension, claiming despite efforts to explain the matter to the public, many were still not in favour.
Umno and PAS are also scheduled to lead a mega anti-ICERD rally in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 8, with top party leaders set to make an appearance.
Earlier today, some 40 Perkasa members had gathered outside the Ara Damansara Mosque to call for the government to cancel any move to ratify the convention.
Its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali had questioned why the government did not just “say no” to ICERD, pointing out that the country has for so many years remained peaceful despite not signing the treaty.
He later thanked the government for shelving its plan for ratification but urged them to maintain its stand in the future and not flip-flop in the years to come.