Press Statement
Khairy is wrong that ratifying the convention against racial discrimination( ICERD) will affect special position of Malays
16 October 2018

We refer to the claim made by Khairy Jamaluddin in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination ( ICERD ) may affect Article 153 of the Federal Constitution on the special position of Malays etc.

Khairy’s views are plainly misguided. There need be no such concern.

Malaysia can proceed to ratify the Convention whilst entering a reservation or declaration on Article 2.2 of the Convention which Khairy claims is inconsistent with Article 153.
( Article 2.2 essentially says that any measures taken for the development or protection of a particular racial group shall cease after the objective is achieved, thus purportedly placing a time-limit on Article 153.)

This is elementary. Malaysia has on many occasions entered reservations when ratifying international conventions, such as in the case of the Child Rights Convention ( CRC ).

Most of the States that have so far ratified the ICERD have also entered reservations or declarations limiting or clarifying the application of certain articles to their respective domestic situations.

For example, Singapore has also entered a reservation on Article 2 of the Convention.

Entering such a reservation will not be contrary to the objects of the Convention, as it only involves that particular clause. The are many other clauses that are extensive in their impact upon all aspects of racial discrimination which will be unaffected by reservation upon Article 2.2.

For Malaysia to be a proud member of the international community, it is imperative to ratify at once the ICERD.

There is no need to hesitate.

This is consistent also with PH’s commitment to adhere to international norms and standards, and to ratify critical international conventions.

Released by:
N Surendran
Lawyers for Liberty