Kedah Sultan didn’t attend Rulers’ meet on Rome Statute, Mukhriz reveals

Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir arrives in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur April 2, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir arrives in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur April 2, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — Kedah’s Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah was absent from the recent Conference of Rulers’ meeting to discuss the Rome Statute, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said.

Malaysiakini reported the MB as saying he was prepared to explain the government’s decision to not ratify the Rome Statute.

“The Sultan of Kedah did not attend the recent (Conference of Rulers) meeting (to discuss the Rome Statute), as His Royal Highness was in Kedah at the time.

“If I am summoned, I am ready to explain (the statute). Even though the government has decided (to withdraw from the statute), I feel it is important to ease any confusion that might happen,” Mukhriz reportedly said in Rantau last night.

He also sought to explain the importance of the Rome Statute to ceramah attendees.

“For example, say there is a leader with great powers in our country, and for some reason, he wants to kill people, not just one or two, but 100,000 or 500,000... he wants to kill off an ethnic group or destroy a kampung, burn all the houses down.

“There are supposed to be laws to investigate, charge and try him in court. But for some reason we are not able to do it, maybe because he is our leader, or we fear that he will kill us, so we dare not take action.

“In that situation, when we can’t bring him to court, it is then that this international law comes into place to represent the victims of the killings, to investigate, charge and try that person,” he said.

On Sunday, a group of student activists leaked the alleged executive summary of a briefing by four academics to the Conference of Rulers that ultimately led to Putrajaya withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute.

The academics argued that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s role as the supreme commander of the armed forces is not simply symbolic or ceremonial, and fulfills the Statute’s Article 28(a) as a military commander with “effective command and control.”

The assertion was made despite Wisma Putra’s clarification to the Agong that he cannot be held responsible for the four core international crimes covered by the statute — genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression — as the legal responsibility lies with the prime minister and the Cabinet.

To prove their arguments that the ICC could act against the monarchy, the academics drew parallels with the last German emperor Wilhelm II and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Both were instrumental as war leaders in World War I and World War II, respectively.

The paper was purportedly prepared by Universiti Teknologi Mara’s deputy vice-chancellor and dean of Faculty of Law Prof Datuk Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University of Malaysia’s law lecturer Assoc Prof Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s law lecturers Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.

On Friday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government was forced to bow out due to political pressure from opponents who spread unnecessary fear and confusion among the public.

He also said critics of the Rome Statute wanted to trigger a conflict between the country’s monarchy and the new government, accusing them of engaging in a political move “to get the rulers to back them up.”