KEPALA BATAS, Nov 7 – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Rawa has reminded all quarters not to go overboard in their assumptions over the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to the extent of creating negative perceptions and racial disharmony.
He said assumptions that the ratification would result in Malay rights being diminished or threaten the status of the Malay rulers and Islam was incorrect.
He said ICERD would not change the identity of the country from the aspect of Constitution, culture or anything for that matter.
“We are worried that in their eagerness into the issue, there are those who try to distort facts.
“As such, this negative perception should be stopped at all costs,” he said after closing the state-level Mahrajan Interaktif Kafa Peringkat Negeri Pulau Pinang, here, today
Mujahid said he would engage all parties involved in a round table discussion tomorrow to get their views on the ICERD.
“The discussion, to be attended by non-governmental organisations and Suhakam, will get their input as well as look at the contents of memorandums sent by various quarters to enable Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to get a better picture of the whole issue.
“We will take Tun’s advice not to ratify any international agreement until the views of all are sought.”
Mujahid said international agreements were signed only after Parliament had given its approval.
Last Friday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P.
Waytha Moorthy had reportedly said that the government was committed to signing six human rights treaties, including the implementation of ICERD in the first quarter of next year.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Cabinet would need to discuss ICERD before agreeing to ratify it.
In a separate development, Mujahid acknowledged that Bibles were distributed to students in front of a secondary school in Bukit Mertajam recently.
He said, after the news went viral, he had sought explanations from the state Islamic Religious Department, state Education Department and Bukit Mertajam member of parliament.
He said the incident was believed to be the act of an NGO, which did not represent the churches or Christian-based associations in the area.
“In this matter, I advice all to respect the constitution. We will investigate whether the Bibles were distributed to Muslims or not.
“All quarters need to understand Article 11 (4) that all are free to practise whatever religion but should not be preached to Muslims,” he added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd