Guan Eng: It was Saifuddin, not PH, that pushed for ICERD

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Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah is the one who pushed for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to ratify the United Nation’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), said DAP’s Lim Guan Eng.

The former finance minister said Saifuddin, then foreign minister was the one who proposed it despite the item not being on PH’s manifesto before the 14th general elections.

“ICERD was not in PH’s manifesto. It was brought up by Saifuddin Abdullah, who is communications minister now. It was not wrong for him to bring it up. But it was never high up the list,” Lim said in a forum with National Professors Council (NPC) today.

The DAP secretary-general said the cabinet led by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the time did not oppose the ratification as Saifuddin promised he will deliver it.

Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

“It was proposed by him, and he was so excited to push. When we see a cabinet member who is so excited for it, we did not oppose it. He was confident that we will ratify it,” Lim said.

There was much opposition for the ICERD ratification by the conservative Malay Muslims spearheaded by Umno and PAS. There was a mass rally held by Umno and PAS leaders on December 2018 despite the PH government already agreeing to accede the convention several weeks earlier.

Lim noted it was ironic Saifuddin was currently now bedfellows with the same group that once was hell-bent on opposing the ICERD ratification.

“But it is weird, the people who were against him during the rally are now sitting and eating together with him,” he said.

Saifuddin was among those who quit PKR and joined Bersatu after the party pulled out of PH, causing the collapse of the 22-month-old government in February last year.


Bersatu then went on to join forces with Umno, PAS and GPS to form the Perikatan Nasional government, which is headed by Muhyiddin Yassin. Saifuddin was retained as minister and was offered the communications role with Hishamuddin Hussien replacing him as foreign minister.

Lim separately said PH’s choice of prime minister candidate is currently Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, even though they were deliberating to pick Warisan President Mohamad Shafie Apdal at one juncture.

“This is an alternative (Shafie). If you look at my statement and Mat Sabu’s (Amanah president Mohamad Sabu), this is an option we are considering. We don’t want to reject any options. This was last year.

“But PH sticks by supporting Anwar as PM. This does not discount Shafie’s capability as a national leader. Just because he is from Sabah, we are not rejecting him,” he said. – TMI