PORT MORESBY (Bernama): Implementing the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) would entail amending the Federal Constitution, which is almost impossible, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic).
The Prime Minister pointed out that a two-thirds parliamentary majority was needed for this to happen.
This, he said, was nearly impossible with the current composition of the Dewan Rakyat from the government and the reaction shown over the matter from the opposition as well as members of the government.
"Only with the support from the opposition can we have a two-thirds majority, and even then government members themselves may not support (it). So I feel that it's almost impossible for us to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary (to amend the constitution)," he said.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to Malaysian media at the conclusion of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) 2018 meeting here.
It was reported that Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman had expressed reservations about ratifying ICERD, as opposition parties planned to organise a joint rally next month against it.
Dr Mahathir acknowledged that ICERD was sensitive to Malaysia's Malay community and that the government was not rejecting the views expressed by the people on the matter.
"This matter is sensitive to the Malays, we understand that. In my speech at the United Nations (general assembly), I mentioned the complexity of implementing ICERD. So, we didn't commit that we are going to do it," he said.
Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Saturday (Nov 17) that the Malay-Muslim community would "run amok" to protest the Pakatan Harapan government's pledge to ratify ICERD.
To this, the Prime Minister said: "Unless Zahid stirs up trouble, there will be no riot (over ICERD)." – Bernama