The five-letter word

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 25 Nov 2018

What is ICERD?

An international treaty that calls for countries to end racial discrimination, criminalise the spread of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, outlaw acts of violence or inciting violence against persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and promote understanding among all races.

What are state parties committed to do after ratifying ICERD?

• Not support or defend discrimination by any person or party

• Change or remove existing laws that create or support racial discrimination

• Introduce laws or take actions to end racial discrimination

• Encourage or introduce measures that bring races together

• Take special measures to develop and/or protect some racial groups by guaranteeing them equality

Why did the government want to ratify ICERD?

As a member of the UN, Malaysia is encouraged to work towards the full ratification of all core human rights treaties, and to strive towards developing a nation built on the principles of equality, respect and acceptance of all citizens of Malaysia. To date, Malaysia has only ratified three conventions: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

What will happen if Malaysia ratifies ICERD?

• Amendments or systematic review of existing laws, regulations and policies that perpetuate racial discrimination

• Inciting racial discrimination and racial violence becomes a punishable offence

• Legal guarantees and enforcement procedures against discrimination relating to political rights, employment, housing, education and public facilities

• Have educational programmes to promote good relations and tolerance between racial and ethnic groups

• Creation of institutions and agencies to deal with problems of racial discrimination and to protect the interests of indigenous groups

What is the main objection to ICERD?

That ICERD would offend Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and it will have to be amended.

What is Article 153?

Article 153 enjoins the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, specifically in:

1. employment in the public service

2. educational privileges and special facilities

3. trade permits or licences

What are other objections to ICERD?

1. MARA will be closed

2. MRSM will be closed

3. UiTM will be closed

4. Malay reserve lands will be abolished

5. The Royal Malay Regiment will be considered racially discriminative

6. No more scholarships for Bumiputra

7. No more Bumiputra discount for housing

8. The Bumiputra criteria in tenders and business licenses will be abolished

9. Malaysia will lose its sovereignty

10.Islam will be threatened

Will Malay special privileges be threatened with ICERD?

No. Many countries that have ratified or acceded to ICERD affirmative action policies to protect the rights of marginalised and indigenous groups.

Will Islam be threatened with ICERD?

No. State parties are allowed to put a reservation, like Saudi Arabia, that they will not implement the ICERD provisions that conflict with the Islamic Syariah.

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Politics , Government , ICERD


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