QUESTION TIME | Umno and PAS are clearly barking up the wrong tree when they threaten mass demonstrations and more, including running amok, if Malaysia ratifies a UN convention against racial discrimination. Malaysia is among only just 14 countries in the whole wide world which have not ratified it.
There are more than sufficient safeguards and exceptions in the convention, known as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination or Icerd for Malaysia to continue with special privileges for bumiputeras and protecting the monarchy.
It is a matter of great regret that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad seems to be unaware that there is no need to amend the Federal Constitution to ratify the Icerd because the constitution has absolutely no provision for racial discrimination. Mahathir’s son Mukhriz and Bersatu Youth chief and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman had also expressed reservations about Icerd.
Mahathir had said that it would be almost impossible to change the constitution so as to be able to ratify Icerd. However, he may have said that to appease possible animosity among Malays towards the ratification, with PAS and Umno systematically whipping up sentiment against it.
The constitution provides for special privileges for bumiputeras to ensure they are not left behind in economic development. This is allowed under Icerd up to the time that they will no longer need such protection, which is what the original New Economic Policy seems to have said as well. So where is the contradiction?..
Malaysia is one of only two Muslim-majority countries in the world that have not ratified ICERD.