There are a few things that cannot be changed in the universe: the sun will always rise from the East, energy equals to mass times the speed of light constant, and the primary constitution of the country.
According to The Star, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) confirms today that Malaysia will not ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
The Pakatan Harapan government will continue to defend the Federal Constitution and the social contract enshrined within, something which was agreed upon by all races during the formation of the country, the PMO wrote in a brief statement this afternoon (Nov 23).
The United Nation set up ICERD convention in 1965 and it’s currently signed by 179 countries out of 197. Malay Mail reported that are only 14 countries didn’t sign nor ratify the treaty which include young countries like South Sudan, and island nations Cook Islands, Vanuatu; the federated states of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Niue and Tuvalu.
We are in the like of North Korea as we both didn’t sign the UN treaty. As for our closest neighbours, Singapore ratified it last year November, followed by Thailand (2003), Indonesia (1999), Cambodia (1983), Vietnam (1982), Laos (1974) and the earliest adopter was the Philippines in 1967. Myanmar and Brunei didn’t ratify the ICERD as well.
In other UN human rights treaties, Malaysia signed merely three conventions which are related to children, women and the disabled: Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw); and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
All other ASEAN countries fare better than Malaysia and Brunei although the latter had signed a fourth treaty against torture. Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines each signed eight out of nine treaties, taking the lead in the region.
It was in PH election manifesto that the coalition would strive to sign the remaining UN human rights treaties and Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah had stated in July that the government was still committed in the aspiration.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia’s Article 153 would have to be amended in order for the country to comply with the ICERD. The said article, which constitutionalized the special rights of the Malays and the indigenous people, isn’t ICERD-compliant.
“ICERD promotes freedom and less discrimination. Article 153 gives some privileges to the indigenous people, which means some may interpret it as being discriminatory,” explained the premier.
“If we try to abolish these privileges, it will go against Article 153.
“Article 153 cannot be amended as long as there is no two-thirds majority,” said Dr Mahathir, adding that the government of the day don’t have a two-thirds majority and some people within the coalition don’t agree with ratifying the ICERD, needless to say that the opposition BN or PAS would agree to amending Article 153.
I personally believe that it is the responsibility of every Malaysian to uphold the constitution, be it the State Constitution or the Federal Constitution. To be liberal in terms of progress and innovation is good. But we should not forget our tradition, heritage and History. pic.twitter.com/klDERzvpje
— HRH Crown Prince of Johor (@HRHJohorII) November 23, 2018
Meanwhile, Johor royal crown prince Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, or more fondly known as TMJ, said Malaysia has to be cautious when taking steps to be more liberated as a nation.
“I personally believe that it is the responsibility of every Malaysian to uphold the constitution, be it the State Constitution or the Federal Constitution.
“To be liberal in terms of progress and innovation is good. But we should not forget our tradition, heritage and history,” wrote TMJ on Twitter today.
Former Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Razak said his administration studied ICERD twice in 2011 and 2015. Once realizing the convention was against the Federal Constitution, he dropped the idea to ratify it.