Ratifying ICERD will lead to political instability, Muslim group warns ahead of mass rally

Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
Ummah chairman Aminuddin Yahaya said that if the ICERD is ratified, it will lead to other ‘elements’ which will threaten the Malay race as well as Islam. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― Ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) will cause the elimination of Malay and Bumiputera rights and this will in turn lead to political instability, Malay-Muslim coalition Ummah claimed today.

Ummah, together with another group Sekretariat Kedaulatan Negara is organising an anti-ICERD rally on December 8 at Dataran Merdeka, a move they say is necessary to prevent to erosion of the rights of the Malays, the “majority” race in Malaysia.

Ummah chairman Aminuddin Yahaya said that if the ICERD is ratified, it will lead to other “elements” which will threaten the Malay race as well as Islam.

“We are concerned that if this is not prevented, there will be elements that will threaten the Malay race and Islam,” he told a news conference in KL, which was also broadcast live on Ummah's Facebook page.

Aminuddin also claimed that ratifying ICERD would lead to Malaysians allowing to adopt whichever religion they wanted, and that this was a threat to the position of Islam in Malaysia.

“The purpose of this gathering is to tell the government, that this is not a small issue to be politicised,” he added.

Ummah secretariat deputy chairman Kamaruzaman Mohamad said the December 8 rally has received a good response so far, with more than 50,000 people stating that they will attend the event.

“More than 50,000 want to attend, based on the promotion of the event on Facebook so far,” he said.

Kamaruzaman said that they will speak to authorities to discuss the details of the event in order for it to be held without any untoward incidents.

“It will be held peacefully,” he said.

But Aminuddin quickly added that the rally will take place even if the authorities do not grant them a permit.

Both Umno and PAS have pledged to support the rally, and for their members to attend it.

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has used the ICERD issue as a platform to promote unity talks between the two Malay parties.

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 Bumiputera community of their constitutional safeguards and privileges.

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