KUALA LUMPUR: The hoo-ha surrounding the country’s initial intention to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and its subsequent decision not to, is proof that Malaysians are not ready to achieve the goal of a new Malaysia.
DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said this was an indication that the nation has a long way to go before it is able to compete with the rest of the world, without fighting against one another.
“The ICERD incident is a salutary reminder to all Malaysians that we have a long way to go to accomplish our new goal of a new Malaysia, which is to make Malaysia a top world class nation and not a divided and fractured one, warring against itself,” he said in a statement today.
Lim acknowledged that no Malaysian would want the country to ratify the contentious convention at the price of another May 13 racial riot.
“There are political desperadoes and opportunists 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.
“(And this is) although ICERD is not against the Malaysian Constitution, anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers,” he added.
Commenting on the planned anti-ICERD demonstration to be held tomorrow, Lim said Malaysia was set to be a laughing stock of the Muslim world, noting that some 99% of the 1.9 billion Muslims of the world live in the 179 countries that have already ratified ICERD.
He however conceded that, considering the multi-cultural nature of Malaysia, the country should not move to ratify the treaty for as long as the majority of Malaysians do not fully understand it.
“But ours is a plural society and it is of paramount importance that we can ensure the unity and harmony of our of diverse races, languages, cultures and religions in Malaysia.
“And for this reason, I have come to the view that Malaysia should not ratify ICERD until the majority of the races and religions in Malaysia supports it and understand that it is no threat to the various races, religions or the constitution, but a step forward to join the world in promoting human rights,” he added.