Rome Statute ratification approved in 2019, claims former foreign minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The government in 2019 had approved ratification of the Rome Statute, says Indera Mahkota lawmaker Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

Saifuddin who is the former foreign minister said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had confused the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Nov 21), by claiming the then foreign minister went ahead to sign the statute without obtaining an approval from the Cabinet.

"He said and I quote 'on the Rome Statute and International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) issues then asked Indera Mahkota (MP). He was the one who brought it (signed it) without getting the Cabinet’s approval at the time.'

"I felt it was aimed at me because I have served as the foreign minister and had to do with the Rome Statute at one time," he said in a press conference at the Parliament media room on Thursday (Nov 23).

On Nov 21, Anwar who is also the Tambun Member of Parliament said this in his reply to Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal who wanted to know what were the government’s efforts to push the calls to bring Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies to the International Criminal Court (ICC) even though Malaysia was not part of the signatories of the Rome Statute.

Saifuddin said Anwar had misled the Dewan Rakyat with his statement as the then Cabinet led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had a meeting and decided to ratify the Rome Statute on Dec 21, 2018.

"As the foreign minister then, I have signed on the matter following the Cabinet’s decision. Therefore, I have ratified the Rome Statute on behalf of the government on March 4, 2019.

"So it is not true that what Tambun said was that I did not obtain any approval from the Cabinet when ratifying the Rome Statute," he added.

Following the matter, Saifuddin had raised a motion in the Lower House to refer Anwar to the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee under the Standing Order 36 (6) and 36 (12) for his misleading and malicious remarks.

Saifuddin said the Speaker had written a letter to Anwar and was awaiting a reply from the Tambun MP before making a decision on the matter.

On Apr 6, 2019, Dr Mahathir announced that Malaysia had withdrawn its decision to ratify the Rome Statute after confusion created by those with political interests, even though he said the Rome Statute was not harmful nor would it affect the country’s sovereignty.

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