PM to skip Suhakam rally over stand on ICERD

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - HOME -

PETALING JAYA: Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad has dis­tanced him­self from a pro­posed rally or­gan­ised by the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion of Malaysia (Suhakam) here yes­ter­day.

He said this was be­cause the Pakatan Hara­pan (PH) gov­ern­ment he led had a dif­fer­ent stand from Suhakam on the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion on the Elim­i­na­tion of All Forms of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion (ICERD).

"I've de­cided that we will not ac­cept ICERD. Suhakam wants to ac­cept ICERD. So how can I go," he told a press con­fer­ence after chair­ing a Pakatan Hara­pan Pres­i­den­tial Coun­cil meet­ing at Me­nara Yayasan Se­lan­gor yes­ter­day.

The rally in con­junc­tion with In­ter­na­tional Hu­man Rights Day 2018 was orig­i­nally sched­uled to take place yes­ter­day, with Dr Ma­hathir as the spe­cial guest but was post­poned to to­day on the ad­vice of the au­thor­i­ties.

A 'thanks­giv­ing' gath­er­ing to cel­e­brate the gov­ern­ment's de­ci­sion not to rat­ify ICERD was held in the fed­eral cap­i­tal yes­ter­day.

On Nov 23, the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice is­sued a state­ment say­ing that the Pakatan Hara­pan-led gov­ern­ment would not rat­ify ICERD and would con­tinue to up­hold the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion to de­fend the so­cial con­tract that had been agreed upon by all races dur­ing the for­ma­tion of this coun­try.

In a state­ment on Nov 27, Suhakam said it was dis­ap­pointed with the gov­ern­ment's de­ci­sion.

Dr Ma­hathir added that the Suhakam event was post­poned to to­day as the po­lice would not have enough man­power to con­trol two ral­lies on the same day.

"It's not that we are against demon­stra­tions. Demon­stra­tions can be held, but we have only asked for it to be post­poned to an­other day so the po­lice are not pres­sured be­cause they do not have enough num­ber of per­son­nel to over­see large gath­er­ings," he said.

When asked whether he would be join­ing the rally in the cap­i­tal yes­ter­day, Dr Ma­hathir said: "No. I'm grate­ful enough. I have made a good de­ci­sion (by not rat­i­fy­ing ICERD), I am grate­ful I can make a good de­ci­sion," he said.

Ad­dress­ing the per­cep­tion that PH was a 'U-turn' gov­ern­ment after back­track­ing on a num­ber of de­ci­sions, Dr Ma­hathir said some­times the gov­ern­ment had to do it when it was head­ing the wrong way.

"We're not per­fect peo­ple although most of us are 'an­gels', but an­gels some­times make mis­takes. So, when an­gels make a mis­take, they turn around," he said.

On the cab­i­net's de­ci­sion to post­pone the sched­uled salary de­duc­tions (PGB) for Na­tional HIgher Ed­u­ca­tion Fund Cor­po­ra­tion (PTPTN) bor­row­ers, Dr Ma­hathir said the gov­ern­ment had taken into ac­count the peo­ple's views on the mat­ter and that a re­vised pay­ment plan would be sought.

Asked whether the pol­icy re­gard­ing PTPTN pay­ments was made with­out proper con­sul­ta­tion, Dr Ma­hathir said many par­ties did not help in terms of pro­vid­ing rec­om­men­da­tions and in­for­ma­tion prior to the de­ci­sion.

"Be­fore we an­nounced it, they did not say any­thing. So when we an­nounced, there were many who were dis­sat­is­fied. But for us to ask about 33 mil­lion peo­ple (Malaysia’s pop­u­la­tion), is a bit dif­fi­cult. So if there is a neg­a­tive re­ac­tion (from the pub­lic), we take that into con­sid­er­a­tion," said Dr Ma­hathir, who is also chair­man of Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia (Ber­satu).

Also present were Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and PH pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Wan Az­izah Wan Is­mail, PKR pres­i­dent Datuk Seri An­war Ibrahim and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia Min­is­ter and DAP deputy chair­man Gobind Singh Deo. - Ber­nama

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