After Rome Statute reversal, minister says on mission to counter misinformation from Putrajaya’s critics including ‘profesor kangkung’

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during an interview in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during an interview in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, April 23 — Wisma Putra will take a more proactive role in explaining the government’s international policies after Putrajaya was forced to abandon ratifying the Rome Statute, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

In a joint press interview yesterday ahead of Pakatan Harapan’s first anniversary in power, he said he learned lessons from the debacle over the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and said efforts to mislead Malaysians must be exposed.

“We must be more careful with our communications. We must also call their bluff, as we are doing now with the ICC issue.

“I am going on TV and exposing the lies — there are lies. We will expose them all including the profesor kangkung (sham professors),” he said.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced earlier this month that Malaysia was reversing its previously stated intention to ratify the Rome Statute due to political deception that confused the public.

Saifuddin noted that the decision also came in the wake of another reversal on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

However, he said the situation was different with the Rome Statute as the government could in the future introduce its benefits to Malaysia independently of the global treaty.

“We learned from the ICERD and ICC experiences, in that we must coordinate these issues better in the future.

“We are dealing with people who twist facts. They did not tell the real story behind ICERD and ICC. The manipulation of facts caused confusion and it was also meant to scare the public,” he said.

He said this was why the Cabinet ultimately chose not to proceed with either treaty despite previous public declarations.