Home Civil Society Voices Did the anti-ICERD rally promote racial harmony?

Did the anti-ICERD rally promote racial harmony?

Malaysia is one of only a handful of major countries (in red) that have neither signed nor ratified the ICERD - Graphic: Wikipedia

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Political leaders must stop making speeches with racial and religious undertones that could cause fear and hatred among peace-loving Malaysians, says Mohamed Ashad Raji.

Many concerned citizens had questioned if the rally against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination on 8 December would help built racial unity and harmony among Malaysians. The answer is a definite no.

Many felt the rally was not necessary because the government had relented to the demands of the organisers not to ratify the UN convention. Despite this, the organisers cunningly changed the purpose of the rally, supposedly to show gratitude to the government for not ratifying the UN convention.

From the speeches by various Umno and Pas leaders, it was clear the organisers had no intention of honouring their word about expressing gratitude to the PH government for its decision not to ratify the convention.

Instead, they turned it into a political rally filled with speeches with racial and religious undertones. Instead of rallying the various races into one united Malaysian people, the rally was all about the supremacy of the Malays and Islam that, they claimed, had been eroded and how they felt threatened by the new Pakatan Harapan government.

This had been the mantra played by Umno and PAS leaders to retain power in the past. But it failed miserably during the 2018 general election because of the massive corruption and abuse of power by the very same leaders who claimed the Malays and Islam had been threatened.

It was disgusting to see the appearance of leaders who are facing serious charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power. They had the audacity to face the crowd and appear unremorseful.

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Even the prayer (doa) recited by the ustaz at the close of the rally was inappropriate for the occasion. He prayed that the Pakatan Harapan government’s stay in power would be short-lived and that all those who had voted for the PH government would cast their vote for Umno-Barisan Nasional during the next election. A prayer should be for peace and harmony, and one with political undertones has no place in religion.

Political leaders must stop making speeches with racial and religious undertones that tcould cause fear and hatred among peace-loving Malaysians. Pray for love, peace and harmony to prevail for the benefit of our country and future generations.

Retired BrigadierGeneral Dato Mohamed Ashad Raji is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.

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