Kit Siang concedes ICERD ratification was blunder but notes its architect is still a minister

Lim Kit Siang speaks to the media at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, February 24, 2020. —  Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Lim Kit Siang speaks to the media at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex, February 24, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration was premature in mooting the ratification of the United Nations' International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

In a press statement today, the Iskandar Puteri MP said that this was among the missteps of the collapsed administration, which he said failed to lay the groundwork for it.

“It came as a total surprise to DAP leaders and to me when the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his speech at the United Nations at the end of September 2018 that the government would ratify all core United Nation conventions on human rights.

“This was followed by the announcement that the government would ratify ICERD in the first quarter of 2019.

“This provided fodder for leaders of Umno and PAS to launch a prolonged racial and religious agitation that this was against the Constitution, would strip away Malay privileges and threaten Islam’s position as the official religion, creating the spectre of racial and religious strife in the country,” Lim said.

He said PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang alleged that the move was not based on religion or humanity. He then urged the people not to be influenced by the West that had abandoned “religion and the ethics of true humanity”.

Lim accused Hadi of deception as a total of 179 countries, which included 99 per cent of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, have ratified ICERD — including 55 of the 57 countries in the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC).

Lim also argued that apart from Malaysia and Brunei, 36 of the 38 countries with monarchies have ratified ICERD.

He explained that none of these 36 countries have abolished their monarchies as a result of the ratification, most notably the United Kingdom, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

“But the U-turn on ICERD ratification came too late and was completely ineffective to quell the racial and religious storm to entrench Malay and Muslim support by Umno and PAS leaders — leading to the premature end of the Pakatan Harapan government,” he said.

Lim pointed out that one of the main drivers of the ratification, then foreign minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, remained in the government after Perikatan Nasional took over.

He also recalled that Saifuddin had been vocal about a purported “deep state” sabotaging the PH administration then.

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