KUALA LUMPUR: A peaceful assembly to unite Muslims and to oppose the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) will be held on Nov 17.
The assembly is expected to be attended by Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Umno's Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said the main aim of the
assembly was to defend Muslims and bumiputra rights following talks that ICERD will be ratified by the end of the year.
"We will defend our rights and we know there are a lot of challenges including some parties trying to threaten our rights.
"There are talks that the government will ratify ICERD by the end of this year," he told a press conference at the parliament lobby.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported to have said on Nov 1 that Malaysia would only ratify ICERD after negotiations with all the races.
He said there was no point for the Malays to bring up the ketuanan melayu (Malay supremacy) issue if they did not improve.
“If we want to be a tuan (master), we need to have the knowledge, willingness to be hardworking, do things properly and not steal."
“Don’t follow the example of our previous prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak),” said Dr Mahathir.
The assembly, which will be held at Pekan Kg Gajah, Pasir Salak, is organised by Perak's Gerakan Pembela Ummah.
Tajuddin claims that the ratification of ICERD would threaten the position of Islam as the country's official religion.
"The government has to understand that we have bumiputras with their rights highlighted in the Federal Constitution.
"They cannot say affirmative action is discrimination towards other races. We have to be fair to all races," he added.
He said that the Muslims must stand up for their rights and show that they are united on this issue. He expected a total of 20,000 people to attend the assembly.
On Nov 12, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president, said the government will not breach any article in the Federal Constitution (regarding special position of the Malays) in the ratification of ICERD.
On Nov 9, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, the Bersatu deputy president, said it is not necessary for Malaysia to sign ICERD because it is unsuitable for the country's unique situation.
He said ICERD was aimed at giving equal treatment to the minority groups of a society, but in Malaysia "we have a unique situation where the majority group is marginalised from mainstream development".