Malay-Muslims will ‘run amok’ if ICERD ratified, Zahid warns

John Bunyan
Umno President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang attend an ICERD protest in Kampung Gajah, Perak November 17, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KAMPUNG GAJAH, Nov 18 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid warned Putrajaya last night that the Malay-Muslim community will “run amok” to protest the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s pledge to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Speaking in a protest held by the Perak chapter of Malay-Muslim groups coalition Ummah last night, Zahid said Umno and PAS leaders will mobilise “millions” of their members to the streets to protest the anti-discrimination human rights treaty next month.

“Don’t wait until the Malays run amok. But if our warning goes unheeded, Umno and PAS will unite.

“This is not a mere warning, don’t play if you don’t want the amok to happen.”

Umno and PAS members, and NGOs, attend an ICERD protest in Kampung Gajah, Perak November 17, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Thousands of protesters, even from different states such as Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Kelantan and Terengganu, gathered at the Kampung Gajah taxi stand here to oppose the ICERD.

Among the politicians present were Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, state PAS commissioner Razman Zakaria and state Umno chief Datuk Saarani Mohamad.

Zahid said both parties will join hands to oppose the ICERD by taking to the streets on December 8 in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have put aside all our political difference and united in the spirit of Malays and Muslims,” he added.

People attend an ICERD protest in Kampung Gajah, Perak November 17, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Malaysia is among the 14 countries in the world yet to accede to the ICERD, which has been ratified by numerous Muslim-majority countries, such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Jordan.

Ratifying the ICERD and five other United Nations’ core human rights conventions is part of the PH election manifesto, and last week, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Putrajaya is ready to hear public feedback on the matter.

Various legal experts, including the Malaysian Bar, have repeatedly stressed that the ratification would not in any way alter or affect the country’s Federal Constitution.

Despite this, groups, primarily comprising Malay-Muslim members, continue to oppose the government’s plan to formalise the convention, arguing that doing so will strip the Bumiputra community of their constitutional safeguards and privileges.

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