Pahang state assembly unanimously rejects Putrajaya’s bid to ratify ICERD

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

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — The Pahang state assembly approved the motion to reject the federal government’s attempt to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) today.

Malay daily Sinar Harian reported that the motion was debated for close to two hours after it was tabled by Umno assemblyman Datuk Seri Shahaniza Shamsuddin, who is also the exco for culture, unity, social welfare, women and family development.

The motion was debated by five assemblymen: Two from Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS each, and one from Pakatan Harapan (PH).

There are 25 BN reps in the assembly, followed by nine from PH (seven DAP and two PKR), and eight from PAS.

PAS’ Jengka assemblyman Shahril Azman Al-Hafiz in his debate had urged Putrajaya to reject the ICERD, claiming it threatens national unity.

“Our Constitution existed far earlier than the ICERD and since its implementation, the people have lived in harmony till today. However, when this issue was brought up, it made the people, especially the Malays, angry,” he reportedly said.

“Don’t take policies which have been created by western countries; instead, the PH government needs to focus on the country’s weak economic position compared to the ICERD, which could ruin national unity.”

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.

Meanwhile, BN’s Peramu Jaya assemblyman Datuk Seri Sh Mohamed Puzi Sh Ali claimed the ICERD “disrespected” the so-called “social contract” among the different ethnic groups.

“We have lived together with our friends [of other races] for quite some time... there are matters to which we have agreed since then and were never questioned before.

“Why do we need to rectify the ICERD when it will subtly threaten the special rights of the Malays, Islam as well as the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, including the other races in Malaysia?” he reportedly asked.

However, Triang assemblyman Leong Yu from PH said the matter is not under the purview of the state government, and should instead be decided at the federal level.

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