PETALING JAYA: The ICERD rally on Saturday is a political show of strength between PAS and Umno, veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin said today.
He said both parties would use the gathering linked to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as a benchmark to see who wields more influence.
This will be a 180-degree shift from their original aim of defending the Federal Constitution, the Malay Rulers and Islam, he said.
“It looks like the anti-ICERD rally, to be organised by the opposition parties and its allies, will continue to be held even though the government has already decided not to sign and ratify the United Nations convention.
“Now, it has become a political show of strength of who wields more influence,” Kadir, who is also the special adviser to the prime minister on media and communications, penned in his blog today.
Kadir said both PAS and Umno had no choice but to use whatever opportunities to seek political dividends to hide their shame in losing the May 9 general election.
“For Umno, the desperation is rising, with many of its leaders being brought to court for various criminal charges. On top of that, many of its party members have either left the party or are no longer active.
“On the other hand, PAS wants to team up with Umno out of a sense of debt and is of the view that the party they once labelled as ‘assabiyah’ is still getting much support.
“Umno needs PAS to organise the rally as they themselves have no experience doing so, owing to the fact that they have long not gone to the streets to demonstrate but instead restricted others from protesting,” he said.
‘Lack of understanding on ICERD’
Kadir said from the very beginning, the rally aimed to take advantage of a lack of understanding of the convention from among the public, especially among the Muslims and Malays.
“If people knew more about ICERD, they would definitely not be hopping mad like now. This is not a new convention. It has been in force since 1969.
“They should be more outraged and hold mass protests to condemn the misappropriation of funds by the Barisan Nasional government, which resulted in Tabung Haji, Felda and many other Bumiputera and Islamic trustee bodies to suffer major losses,” he said.
Kadir further questioned how many Malays and Muslims actually knew or cared about ICERD before this and if they were aware that until today, only 88 out of 192 UN member nations have signed the convention and only 27 have ratified it.
From those who have signed and ratified the convention, Kadir said there are eight Muslim nations, comprising monarchies, and where the kings have been exiled.
Kadir stated that a majority of Muslim countries that have become signatories to ICERD never had kings or had abolished the royal institution.
“Pakatan Harapan, out of its sensitivity to the wishes of a majority of the people who feel there was no need for the convention, decided not to sign and ratify it.
“However, since the rally organisers have already gone too far, they have to go ahead with it, with a change in the storyline since they have already fired up the spirits of the participants. Buses have been rented and special outfits already booked.
“If they cancel the protest, it will be embarrassing,” he said.
Kadir noted that on one side, the proposed rally would bring together Umno and PAS. On the other hand, there is the view that the rally is a manifestation of the competition between both parties.
On top of that, Kadir said the rally will also see the involvement of several “Malay and Islamic brand” associations, who do not want to be left behind and are out to show that they are still relevant.
And while the police and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) have allowed the rally to proceed, Kadir said this did not mean that the organisers and participants can do as they liked.
“Police must be stern — as what they did with the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple fracas in Subang Jaya on Nov 26 — to anyone who tries to incite racial and religious sentiments during the rally.
“Since they now have many advanced surveillance tools, they should use them to the fullest to control the crowd and collect information on the protest,” he said.
Kadir also urged police to be professional and fair in carrying out their duties, even though PH is now the government and Umno the opposition.