KOTA KINABALU, Oct 16 — Malaysia’s ratification of the United Nations anti-discrimination treaty will not erode the special position of Malays as claimed by Khairy Jamaluddin, civil group Lawyers for Liberty said today.
The group’s adviser and lawyer N. Surendran said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government can and should ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) without delay, as it can limit the treaty’s scope if there were any inconsistencies that conflict with the constitutional position of Malaysia’s largest demographic group.
“Khairy’s views are plainly misguided. There need be no such concern,” Surendran said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
He explained that any measures taken for the development or protection of a particular racial group shall cease after the objective is achieved, placing a time-limit on Article 153.
Surendran pointed out that Malaysia has ratified similar international treaties, naming as example the Child Rights Convention, and expressed reservations when there were conflicts with the Federal Constitution.
He said most other countries 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, citing Singapore as an example.
“For Malaysia to be a proud member of the international community, it is imperative to ratify at once the ICERD.
“This is consistent also with PH’s commitment to adhere to international norms and standards, and to ratify critical international conventions,” he said.
Yesterday, Khairy Jamaluddin had said in Parliament that ratifying the could affect Article 153 of the Federal Constitution concerning the special positions of Malays and Bumiputeras.