KUANTAN, Nov 8 — The tabling of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland tonight is not connected to or has any effect on the ratification process of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the UPR was a process which was conducted every four years and the report submitted to the government this time through a delegation led by Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Ramlan Ibrahim was up to March 2018.
He said the report would not just be from the government but also from non-governmental organisations, although only the official report would be tabled.
“After the UPR, the Foreign Ministry will head a committee to prepare the annual progress report which is inclusive to see how much we have achieved in the effort to uphold basic human rights, what has been put on hold and what must be done.
“It is not just for the UPR but is a process to ensure that Malaysia has a good basic rights record compared to before for the sake of the people and Malaysia’s international record.
Saifuddin was speaking after launching the Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah Cup 3-on-3 Basketball Meet at Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Tanah Putih here today in which 103 teams from Kuantan, Pekan, Temerloh and Bera are competing.
He said those who were confused about the effects of UPR on ICERD were people who did not have a full understanding of the issue, especially concerning the ICERD.
“That is why we have decided to hold discussions with them as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Muhajid Yusuf Rawa did with Muslim NGOs, and we will continue to disseminate information because we do not have much time left till the ratification,” he said.
Saifuddin who is also MP for Indera Mahkota said he hoped Malaysia’s tabling of the UPR tonight would get a positive outcome following several recent announcements connected to basic human rights by the new government.
“I hope to get positive comments because this government is more proactive in upholding basic human rights issues.
“Although this new policy is not in the official report, I hope the other countries will consider the announcements made by the government today when they listen to Malaysia’s tabling,” he said.
Separately, Saifuddin said the visit by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Japan which began early this week will help optimise infrastructural usage, including railway tracks in the country.
He said transport experts from Japan Railways (JR) Kyushu and JR Freight had said they agreed to increase usage of railway tracks from the North to the South which were currently 30 per cent utilised.
“Most of the time, the tracks are not used, and this is a loss...the prime minister feels the railway tracks in Japan are used almost 24 hours, something which we can emulate,” he said. — Bernama