Putrajaya scheming to sign ICERD in another way, PAS claims

(MMO) – PAS leader Nasrudin Hassan alleged today Putrajaya could implement the International Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) via other means even if it does not ratify the treaty.

The PAS information chief told a gathering of Muslim fundamentalist groups here the government may still adopt liberal policies by ratifying other international human rights-based conventions, which he labelled as anti-Islam.

He claimed this is possible if it ratifies six other international conventions, including the Convention Against Torture or the Declaration on the Intolerance and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which covers standards for religious freedom.

“I am suspicious of the statement by JPN,” he told an anti-ICERD congress at the Putra World Trade Centre here, referring to Putrajaya’s announcement not to ratify the treaty.

“What about the demands to ratify six other conventions? They have yet to state if they would or would not ratify them I don’t want this to be a manipulation,” he said.

PAS is among the chief organisers of a planned mass anti-ICERD protest scheduled to take place two weeks from now. But since the government had said it would not ratify the convention for now, the gathering would instead be “celebratory” in nature.

Yet, Nasrudin urged Muslims to descend into the capital city in droves to send a strong message — that they distrust the new administration and want them to reject all international human rights treaties.

“There is no guarantee that they won’t…That is why it is imperative to attend the December 8 gathering,” he said.

PAS and other hardline Muslim groups have long viewed human rights as a Western ideology designed to mask a new form of colonialism.

Some of its leaders have gone as far as calling the concept a part of the Jewish or Christian conspiracy for world domination, often without providing proof other than dubious theories sourced from the internet.

Today, Nasrudin suggested human rights conventions were a backdoor way for liberal rule as he insisted they were legally binding even if its propounders claim otherwise.

He cited as proof the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw), which the country ratified in 1995.

Nasrudin said the ratification forced the government to “temper” with the Federal Constitution so it could make gender-based discrimination unlawful.

The PAS leader did not state if he felt the move to be positive or otherwise.

Yet, the Indera Mahkota MP insisted that PAS or groups that oppose “Western human rights” are against any form of discrimination, saying Islam itself is a faith that admonishes cruelty.

This, he suggested, justified their rejection of ICERD. Since Islam is the “official” religion of the federation, Malaysia as it stands today is already governed by values that support equality.

“Islam is universal and it prohibits any form of cruelty and that we must not in any way exercise any form of cruelty,” he said.

ICERD had divided public opinion nationwide, with Umno and PAS leading calls for its rejection on grounds that it was unconstitutional, insinuating that its ratification would spell the beginning of the end of political power for the Malays.

Despite claims to be a champion of justice and equality, PAS has never made clear its stand about issues like discrimination in the awarding of scholarships or restricted quotas for minority admission into public universities.