We have our laws and culture, Umno MP says of Rome Statute and LGBTs

Kuala Kangsar MP Mastura Mohd Yazid says the government’s intention to ratify the Rome Statute should have been debated in the Dewan Rakyat. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: An Umno MP today said Malaysia has its own set of values and laws, as the debate continues over the country’s intention to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and calls to protect the LGBT community.

Mastura Mohd Yazid (BN-Kuala Kangsar) told the Dewan Rakyat that Putrajaya should have met with the Council of Rulers and debated its intention to ratify the Rome Statute in Parliament.

This is because like ICERD, or the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, such treaties do not “complement” Malaysia’s legal framework and shariah laws.

“The government should refer to us as legislators in Parliament so that the voice of the people is heard,” she said, adding that this would allow MPs to debate whether such treaties were appropriate.

Although the Cabinet had said the King was notified that his position and immunity would not be affected by Malaysia signing the Rome Statute, Parliament should have debated the issue, Mastura said.

This is so that adequate views can be brought forward, such as if components of such treaties and conventions contravene the Federal Constitution or “our own values and norms”.

“Basic human rights (as defined) in other countries and cultures are not necessarily the same in this country, like LGBT culture and the criminal offence of sodomy,” she said during the debate on the royal address.

“We should be more careful.”

Mastura also said those who voted for Pakatan Harapan last May are now disappointed with the government for not “doing their duty” and being fair to everyone.

She questioned the government’s lack of action over the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim during the Seafield riots last November.

She also referred to the chemical waste dumping incident in Pasir Gudang, and insults by several individuals against Prophet Muhammad.

Mastura claimed justice had not been served in these three cases.

“On behalf of all Malaysian citizens and those in Kuala Kangsar, I ask the government to give up the reins if they can’t do their job by giving it to those who can so that the rakyat’s rights are upheld,” she said.

Md Sabri Azit (PAS-Jerai) echoed Mastura’s views on LGBTs, saying there were some “LGBT allies” who “slammed” a minister for his comments that the government remain firm against LGBT culture.

“This cannot be allowed to happen and the Pakatan Harapan government must be firm in curbing this group,” he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who is in charge of religious affairs, had come under fire from several individuals for his stance on the LGBT issue.

His critics included the prime minister’s daughter, Marina Mahathir, who told Mujahid ‘Shame on you’.

Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said on Saturday the government would violate the Federal Constitution by signing the Rome Statute as the treaty affected the monarchy, Malay rights and the sanctity of Islam in the country.

But earlier this month, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the cabinet had agreed to ratify the Rome Statute after being satisfied that the King’s position and his immunity would not be affected.

Saifuddin said the concern of some that the King would be exposed to criminal prosecution in the ICC was a misconception and made without a basic understanding of the law or constitution.

The Rome Statute is an international agreement that created the ICC, which serves to complement existing laws in a state to prosecute individuals who commit international crimes, as contained in Article 5 of the statute, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

The government previously wanted to ratify ICERD but faced a backlash from Malay groups who claimed ratifying the convention would undermine the special position of the Malays.

The prime minister, however, has since said the government wants to ratify the Rome Statute but wants the treaty to be subjected to Malaysia’s laws, adding that “certain things they do … we cannot do here”.