Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has cautioned the Chinese community over the tension surrounding the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) issue.
In a 90-minute meeting with editors of Chinese dailies today, he said certain political parties and individuals were exploiting the issue and fanning the sentiments of the Malay community.
He claimed this was to garner traction for the planned Dec 8 rally, jointly organised by PAS and Umno to protest the ratification of Icerd.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office this afternoon released a statement that the government would not ratify the convention.
Lim said the government would not prevent the rally but stressed that it must be held in a peaceful manner.
He noted how some quarters linked the Icerd ratification issue to the survivability of the Malay community when this was not the case.
“In fact, we are puzzled why the issue was suddenly plucked out of nowhere as it was never an issue during the 14th general election,” he added.
Lim said he became aware that the Malay community was being instigated after a video alleged he had diverted funds meant for Malay students to Chinese temples went viral on social media.
“Someone with bad intentions has played up these issues to protect their political status.
“Some parties cannot get rid of their corruption label and they need to cover up their inability to manage finances. So they play up extremism to divert attention.
“As such, the Chinese community needs to understand the developments and changes in the Malay community […] they need to have this wary attitude until after the Dec 8 (rally).
“Although this may not directly be linked to the Chinese community, we must be alert. When it is said to be a survival issue (of the Malays), then other communities will also be targeted,” he added.
He said while the situation needed to be pacified, it should not stop people from continuing to express their views on Icerd.
According to Lim, the decision not to ratify Icerd was made in consensus after ministers offered their views during today’s cabinet meeting.
The DAP secretary-general, however, did not answer when asked about DAP’s stand on Icerd. – Malaysiakini