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Mahathir: Almost impossible to implement Icerd

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said implementing the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) would entail amending the Federal Constitution, and this is an almost impossible thing to do.

He pointed out that a two-thirds parliamentary majority was needed for this to happen.

This, Mahathir said, was nearly impossible with the current composition of the Dewan Rakyat from the government and the reaction shown over the matter from the opposition as well as members of the government.

"Only with the support from the opposition can we have a two-thirds majority, and even then government members themselves may not support (it). So I feel that it's almost impossible for us to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary (to amend the constitution)," he said.

Mahathir was speaking to Malaysian media at the conclusion of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) 2018 meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

It was reported that Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman had expressed reservations about Icerd, as opposition parties planned to organise a joint rally next month against a proposed ratification of the convention.

Mahathir acknowledged that Icerd was sensitive to Malaysia's Malay community and that the government was not rejecting the views expressed by the people on the matter.

"This matter is sensitive to the Malays, we understand that. In my speech at the United Nations (general assembly), I mentioned about the complexity of implementing Icerd. So, we didn't commit that we are going to do it," he said.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday that the Malay-Muslim community would “run amok” to protest the Pakatan Harapan government’s pledge to ratify Icerd.

To this, the prime minister said: "Unless Zahid stirs up trouble, there will be no riot (over Icerd)."

- Bernama