KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah today accused detractors of the Rome Statute of trying to bring down the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Saifuddin insisted that Malaysia’s original decision to accede to the International Criminal Court (ICC) of the Rome Statute — which probes international crimes like genocide and war crimes — did not need to be referred to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Council of Rulers because it did not involve constitutional issues.
“Unfortunately, there are parties that intentionally misinterpret the Rome Statute, including the question of referring to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Council of Rulers by giving advice or opinions that are inaccurate and that ignore rational facts and arguments.
“These parties intentionally play up emotions by scaring the public and creating confusion and misunderstanding for political purposes with the intention of bringing down the Pakatan Harapan administration and Tun Dr Mahathir as the democratically chosen prime minister,” Saifuddin said in a statement.
He explained that the Cabinet had decided to join the ICC because it strengthened Malaysia’s resolve in upholding justice on the international level.
“The immunity of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Council of Rulers would have continued to be protected under the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Dr Mahathir announced earlier today that the Cabinet has decided to withdraw Malaysia from the ICC, just weeks after acceding to the Rome Statute, because of public confusion, as he accused detractors of trying to create a row between the royalty and the government.
Over 100 countries are party to the ICC 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.