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More sensible approach towards ICERD

  • Support for or opposition to ICERD have to be established upon the basis of facts, not individuals' guesses and presumptions. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

The heat on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) is still on. Umno and PAS have teamed up against the signing of ICERD, making the issue a major social focus in this country.

The two parties have so far organized several protest rallies across the country, culminating in the December 8 gathering in the capital city.

In the face of such rallies, it is advisable for the government and police to adopt a more liberal and open attitude towards rally-goers.

Home minister Muhyiddin Yassin has pointed out that the government would not reject an application by Umno or PAS to organize the rallies if they file the application as required and go by the law.

Meanwhile, IGP Mohamad Fuzi Harun also said Malaysia is a a democratic country where people can freely express their views on any issue.

Indeed, participating in a rally is one of the ways people can express their views in a democratic country.

Through such gatherings, the public can voice up on certain issues. But unfortunately, there have been too much political manipulation and distortion on the ICERD issue, and this has underscored the opponents' attitude in protesting just for the sake of protesting.

As a consequence of excessive political manipulation, ICERD is no more an issue Malaysians would explore and analyze rationally and impartially today. Instead, it has been exploited as a political tool by some irresponsible quarters.

As Tun Mahathir has said, it is difficult for the government to ratify ICERD because it involves an amendment to the existing constitution, while foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah has reiterated that the issue will be brought to the cabinet for discussion and its ratification will be deferred.

Despite all this, Umno and PAS remain insistent with the idea of organizing the rallies with the ultimate motive of crippling the government by way of creating a big stir among the people.

In this whole thing neither the leaders of Umno nor PAS have tried to understand what ICERD is really about. They have also failed to communicate rationally with the government in a bid to clarify their doubts.

One of the reasons for their opposition to the signing of ICERD is that it will threaten the status of the Malays.

However, many scholars have put it forthright that ICERD will not supersede the Federal Constitution and will therefore not jeopardize the status of the Malays.

Unfortunately those against ICERD are unwilling to come to terms with this reality and will stubbornly stick to their prejudices.

Rational interaction should take the place of boisterous protests in a democratic society because this is the only way to nurture a more matured political culture and lift the overall rational governing capacity.

We need more rational communication and interaction on the issue of ICERD, and the support for or opposition to ICERD must be established upon the basis of facts, not individuals' guesses and presumptions.

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