Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan has chastised two DAP lawmakers for urging their own party to support the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).
Tanah Rata assemblyperson Chiong Yoke Kong and Tras assemblyperson Chow Yu Hui previously said that signing the UN instrument was the first step to ending racial politics in the country.
Doing so was in line with DAP’s 1967 “Setapak Declaration” that sought to do away with separating citizens into Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera categories, they had also said.
Calling them “insensitive”, Mohamad said bumiputera privileges were enshrined in the Federal Constitution and were needed to preserve racial harmony as well as ensure their economic well-being.
“Any initiatives to abolish the bumiputera and non-bumiputera labels will plunge Malaysia into a racial conflict which no one wants,” he warned.
Dangerous political ambition
Mohamad, who is Rantau MP, further claimed that Chiong and Chow’s statement signalled that DAP wanted to embark on a “dangerous” mission of changing the face of the country.
“DAP is adamant and ‘consistent’ in wanting to change the face and character of the real Malaysia. Since becoming part of the government, they have grown more passionate in wanting to realise the contents of the Setapak Declaration.
“[…] Just because the government changed, DAP should not assume that the rakyat has agreed to the introduction of the principles of equality according to DAP – which is to abolish the label of bumiputera and non-bumiputera.
“Changing the image and character of Malaysia is a dangerous political ambition and aspiration, (as) Malaysia is very pluralistic with many races,” he said.
He thus reiterated his opposition to the Pakatan Harapan government in ratifying Icerd, contending that the country was better without it.
“Even without ratifying Icerd, Malaysia has already become a good example in managing diversity. We have ‘local wisdom’, our own way and a mature political consensus,” said the Umno lawmaker.
Back in September, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the 73rd UN General Assembly that Malaysia will ratify all remaining international conventions after thorough deliberation.
However, Mahathir has since expressed reservations about Icerd, deeming several of its provisions “unsuitable” for the country.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy, who is overseeing Icerd efforts, has maintained that the instrument will not compromise the Federal Constitution and would, in fact, serve to unify Malaysians.
He has also promised to consult all stakeholders before the country ratifies any treaties.