Armed forces and police veterans group Patriot expressed support for Putrajaya’s move to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The move, Patriot said, was understandable, given that the protests against the accession of the statute were allegedly orchestrated by those intending to “bring down the government or the prime minister”.
Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji (photo, above) said that while the NGO was disappointed the Pakatan Harapan government had yielded to pressure from dissenting groups, it understood the “big picture”.
Arshad said in a statement today: “It appears that the whole episode of the protest against ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC has been staged, with the ulterior motive to bring down the democratically elected government or the prime minister.
“It is doubtful that those street protesters have the slightest comprehension of the Rome Statute of the ICC, and how it challenges our constitution and the position of the Malay rulers.”
'Academicians may be solicited to give narrow interpretation'
Patriot also took aim at academicians who reportedly submitted a paper to the conference of rulers. The content of the paper by the four academicians from local universities was recently leaked by student activists who claimed that the paper was used to convince the Conference of Rulers to reject the Rome Statute.
In its statement, Patriot derided the academicians, who “may be solicited to give narrow interpretation of the meaning of the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces”.
“These are so-called armchair thinkers who do not understand what war entails.”
Arshad warned that any coercion of the country’s democratically elected government or the prime minister to step down “through sinister means or by force” goes against the will of the people.
He said: “Patriot will not stand idle watching such irresponsible and undemocratic conduct.
“In the event situations turn untenable, Patriot is confident that our inspector-general of police and defence forces chief will remain neutral and act for the collective good of our nation.”
Patriot further called for the matter of the Rome Statute to be brought to Parliament and discussed through proper democratic means.
The group also shared the sentiment aired by NGO G25, a group which comprises retired top civil servants, that the Rome Statute should be openly discussed and debated by all strata of society.
The Rome Statute, already adopted by more than 100 countries, establishes the ICC which tries four core international crimes - genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crime of aggression.
Malaysia signed the documents to accede to the Rome Statute early last month. It was stated that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was informed of this decision as early as Feb 15.
However, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (photo) claimed that the government failed to consult the Conference of Rulers beforehand.
His father, Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, said ratifying the treaty would violate the Federal Constitution as it would affect the monarchy, Malay rights and the sanctity of Islam in Malaysia.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the government’s withdrawal from the statute, claiming that the people had been “‘misled”, and that an unidentified party was attempting to pit the royalty against the government.
Several ministers also warned of a plot to overthrow Mahathir, including Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
Prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim had stated on Saturday that Mahathir had alluded to a particular royal personality, whom Anwar did not name, and not political parties as being behind the plot against him.