Anti-ICERD rally a victory for New Malaysia but a setback for Pakatan Harapan

The peaceful holding of the Anti-ICERD rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday is a victory for New Malaysia but a setback for Pakatan Harapan.

As the Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin rightly said after the rally, it was a demonstration that the Pakatan Harapan government will always respect the rights of the people to speak and assemble peacefully, as long as these rights are practised according to the provisions of the law and the Federal Constitution.

The former UMNO/Barisan Nasional government will never have recognised, respected and upheld the constitutional and democratic right of Malaysians to speak and assemble peacefully, as witnessed what happened to the five Bersih rallies from 2007 to 2016 – Bersih 1 on 10th November 2007, Bersih 2 on 9th July 2011,Bersih 3 on 28th April 2012, Bersih 4 on 29th and 30th 2015 and Bersih 5 on 19th November 2016.

But there is a major hitch - the organisers of the of the Anti-ICERD rally in Kuala Lumpur did not want a New Malaysia, which was born on the historic day of May 9, 2018, to re-set Malaysian nation-building policies to save Malaysia from the trajectory of a rogue democracy, a failed state, a kakistocracy and a global kleptocarcy and awaits Malaysians to give it flesh, blood and soul to be a world top-class nation, united, democratic, just, progressive and prosperous - which may take one or two decades to accomplish.

The organisers of the Anti-ICERD rally came to destroy and not to create a New Malaysia.

I said it was a setback for the Pakatan Harapan to build a New Malaysia because yesterday’s rally would not have happened if the Pakatan Harapan government had handled the ICERD issue better.

As constitutional law expert from the University of Malaya, Professor Shad Faruqi, has stressed, most of the criticisms against ICERD have no legal basis.

He said: “However, as hate and fear are potent weapons in politics, the perpetrators have succeeded in polarising society and raising the spectre of violence.”

As Shad Faruqi has pointed out, ICERD is neither anti-Malay nor against the Malaysian Constitution.

Since yesterday, Malaysia has become the laughing stock of the Muslims in the world, as 99% of the 1.9 billion Muslims of the world live in 179 countries which have ratified ICERD, including 55 of the 57 Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) nations.

UKM Research fellow, Dr. Denison Jayasooria wrote a good article in Malaysiakini entitled: “Examining Icerd ratification among OIC members”, where he reviewed the ratification by OIC member states, including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Palestine, and he concluded: “As far as I note none of them has objections or placed reservations in the name of Islam.”

ICERD also does not undermine the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to result in the abolition of the system of Malay Sultans.

There are 38 countries with the monarchical system, out of which 36 countries have ratified the ICERD including the United Kingdom in 1969, Norway 1970, Sweden 1971, Denmark 1971, Netherlands 1971, Jordan 1974, Belgium 1975, Japan in 1995, and Saudi Arabia 1997.

There are absolutely no indications that the ratification of ICERD by these 36 countries have undermined the monarchical system as to lead to their abolition.

But as Malaysia is a plural society, it is of utmost importance that the unity and harmony of our diverse races, languages, cultures and religions in Malaysia must be the paramount goal of the nation.

For this reason, Malaysia should not ratify ICERD until the majority of the races and religions in Malaysia are comfortable with it, support it and understand that it poses no threat to the various races, religions or the Federal Constitution but a step forward to join the world in promoting human rights.

The Pakatan Harapan Government should not have allowed the organisers of the anti-ICERD rally to hijack, twist and distort the ICERD debate with the toxic politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion to incite baseless fears that ICERD is anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers, which camouflaged an agenda to allow those responsible for sending Malaysia into the trajectory of a rogue democracy, a failed state, a kakistocracy and a global kleptocracy to make a political comeback and to destroy efforts to re-set nation-building efforts to create a New Malaysia.

This is a lesson the Pakatan Harapan Government must learn quick and fast, or both Pakatan Harapan and the great vision of a New Malaysia will be destroyed.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri