More Backlash from Rome Statute U-Turn

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The people voice their unhappiness over the government’s decision to withdraw from acceding to the treaty.

  • Kadir Jasin: No one above the law, not even our rulers
  • Patriot: Reintroduce Rome Statute via Parliament 
  • Civil society groups: “Morally despicable” to oppose ratification, Putrajaya learnt nothing from ICERD episode

No one in the country is above the law, not even our rulers, says veteran newsman Datuk A Kadir Jasin, referring to Malaysia’s decision not to ratify the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Kadir said that the Federal Constitution reigned supreme in a country such as Malaysia, where the constitutional monarchy system was practised.

He said that while Malaysians hold the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and state rulers in high esteem, they, in turn, should adhere to their roles as specified in the Constitution.

“It must always be remembered that constitutional monarchs are governed by the law of the land, in which the Constitution is supreme.

“Nobody, not even the monarchs, is above the law.

“The King and state rulers are immune to legal action only in the performance of their prescribed official duties,” he wrote on his blog on Monday (April 8).

Kadir added that he was prompted to write about the matter following several incidents involving the country’s royalty that have come to light recently.

“I am alarmed by the tendency of a handful of princes to stray into the realm of the ordinary people by making politically-charged statements against the elected government.

“I think this is a dangerous game to play.

“Unlike their subjects, the monarchs are apolitical and above politics.

“As for the princes who feel that the people are not respecting them enough, or think that they can freely take to social media to lambast the elected government, my message is simple: come down from your royal perch and do Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope in the political arena.

“Why not?

“The late Tunku Abdul Rahman of Kedah took to the political arena and went on to become the country’s first and much loved prime minister,” Kadir said, adding that other examples include Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who is a descendant of the Kelantan royal family.

Meanwhile, Patriots say they understand the big picture and agree with the prime minister’s decision to withdraw from acceding to the Rome Statute.

In a statement, the group said it appears that the whole episode of the protest against ratification of the Rome Statute has been staged, with the ulterior motive to bring down the democratically elected government or the prime minister.

“It is doubtful that those street protesters have the slightest comprehension of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

“As in most cases of a sinister campaign, first a mob-for-hire group would be mobilised. Or in the usual modus operandi of the opposition parties, a spin master concocts a make-real story. Next, the person or politicians who are the mastermind move in to heave havoc taking advantage of the mob or spun story.

“Academics may be solicited to give a narrow interpretation of the meaning of the supreme commander of the country’s armed forces. These are co-called armchair thinkers who do not understand what a war entails. Even if their officially unsolicited views are correct, in the event of a war it will be the officers and men of the security forces at the front line, the rakyat, and the whole nation will perish first. They will die protecting the King and country.”

With regards to the Rome Statute, Patriots said it should be openly discussed and debated at all strata of our society, in institutions of higher learning, and be given wide media coverage.

“Ultimately, with the people’s full understanding on the issues, the matter can be brought to the parliament through the elected representatives, through a proper democratic process.”

Civil society groups said it is unbelievable and “morally despicable” for any individual or groups to try and oppose the ratification of the Rome Statute.

In a joint statement signed by 22 groups, the groups said they were appalled with Putrajaya’s failure to maintain a strong position to the questions of human rights and humanity, easily giving in to the voices of “vested interests”.

“This is a lesson the Malaysian government should have quickly grasped soon after the racially stirred up ICERD commotion. There should not be another retraction of ratifications, laws and policies due to prejudicial religious and racial politics.”

Among the 22 NGOs who signed the joint statement were G25, Bersih, Sisters in Islam, Aliran and Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK), as well as those representing Orang Asli concerns, migrants as well as environmentalists and university professors.