Press Statement

Government’s decision not to ratify ICERD puts Malaysia to shame 

23 November 2018

The PM’s department has today issued a statement that the government will not to ratify ICERD. This decision not to ratify comes in the wake of weeks of politically motivated mischief-making and misconceived arguments by Umno/Pas and right-wing groups.

The claim that Article 153 of the Federal constitution would need to be amended if ICERD is ratified, has no legal basis whatsoever; and this has been pointed out repeatedly. Neither does the ICERD affect Islam; all Muslim countries have already ratified the ICERD except Malaysia and Brunei.

There is simply no reasonable or acceptable reason not to ratify ICERD.

It is appalling that the govt has faltered and made such an embarrassing ‘u-turn’ by going back upon their own earlier decision to ratify.

Government leaders have failed to show moral leadership, when it was most needed.

Some very senior leaders and MPs of PH ‘abandoned ship’ midway by publicly calling for the ratification to be delayed. This was inexcusable.

This lack of a strong and united voice within PH led to the eventual capitulation of the government on ICERD.

Whilst it is always good for government to change their position in the face of sound argument, it is a dangerous precedent to do so in the face of prejudice and false arguments.

That we cannot ratify this key anti-racism treaty puts Malaysia to shame, regionally and internationally. It robs us of moral authority on the world stage. Worse, it shows a disturbing lack of resolve, courage and purpose in the government.

Released by:
N Surendran
Lawyers for Liberty