Dr M: Rome Statute critics want to pit royal institution against government

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya April 5, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya April 5, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said critics of the Rome Statute wanted to trigger a row between the country’s monarchy and the new government.

The Langkawi MP accused critics of the government’s now-failed bid to ratify the treaty as engaging in a political move “to get the rulers to back them up”.

“Having said all that against the Statute of Rome, we understand that this is a political move. A political move to get the rulers to back them up,” Dr Mahathir said at a press conference here.

“Of course, some members of the royal family also may be involved, but the whole idea is to get the royalty in Malaysia to go against this government. That is the motive.

“But because of this confusion, and the confusion also among the rulers, we have made a decision that we will not recognise the Statute of Rome,” he said.

He added that the government has, however, already ratified the treaty, but still has time to withdraw, and will do so.

“So our Cabinet decision this morning is that we will withdraw our ratification of the Statute of Rome because of confusion. Not because we believe it is going to be bad for us, but because of the confusion created by one particular person who wants to be free to beat up people and things like that.

“If he beats up people again, I will send the police to arrest him. I don’t care who he is,” Dr Mahathir said.

In a speech earlier, he also took his critics to task, accusing some of silently benefiting from the alleged misdeeds of his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and now acting as champions of the Malay race.

“I am saying this directly at them. Who they are, you can guess. But that is the reason why they were silent then, but now actively wanting to defend the rights if the Malays apparently,” an unapologetic Dr Mahathir said.

When asked in the press conference later if he was alluding to a member of the royal family from a southern state, Dr Mahathir coolly replied: “You can make your guess. You are welcome.”

Over 100 countries are party to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is established under the Rome Statute, that probes genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression that are committed either in the territory of a state party or by a citizen of a state party.

Dr Mahathir said the government still strongly believed that the Rome Statute is a positive international treaty that should be ratified. 

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