Small group of protesters demand foreign minister, AG quit over Rome Statute

A group of about 40 demonstrators are pictured outside Parliament calling for the resignation of Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Attorney General Tommy Thomas April 8, 2019. — Picture by Lazareen Thaveethu Moses
A group of about 40 demonstrators are pictured outside Parliament calling for the resignation of Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Attorney General Tommy Thomas April 8, 2019. — Picture by Lazareen Thaveethu Moses

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — As the Dewan Rakyat sitting convened today, a group of about 40 men and women assembled at the gates of Parliament demanding the removal of Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Attorney General Tommy Thomas from their posts.

The demonstrators held up placards that all had the common theme of the Rome Statute printed on them. Among the messages in Malay were calls to: “Sack the AG”, “Tommy Thomas Cheater. Traitor to the Conference of Rulers”.

The demonstrators claimed that the removal of the minister and the AG were necessary as the duo had previously supported the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and recently, asked the government to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

“NGOs and the people of Malaysia have lost their faith in Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and the Attorney General because they don’t have the heart to look after the sovereignty of the Malaysian constitution,” read a memorandum carried by several of the demonstrators.

The memorandum further claimed that hostilities over the Rome Statute would not have erupted if the government had not been hasty to sign in.

Saifuddin signed the Instrument of Accession to the Rome Statute on March 4, and it was then deposited to the Secretary-General of the United Nations the same day.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced his Pakatan Harapan government’s withdrawal from ratifying the treaty, citing political pressure.

Over the weekend, Saifuddin issued a statement explaining the Cabinet’s reversal of its decision was to prevent a coup d’etat attempt spurred on by political powers behind the scenes.

The foreign minister pointed out history has shown that a coup d’etat is a common reaction to democratic advancement and the public rising up following an election, and it is usually instigated by the “deep state” without elaborating on what or who the individuals were.

Demonstrators hold up placards calling for the sacking of Attorney General Tommy Thomas outside the Parliament building April 8, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Demonstrators hold up placards calling for the sacking of Attorney General Tommy Thomas outside the Parliament building April 8, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif