Egypt-like coup could happen if people incited over Rome Statute, says Khalid

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad has defended Putrajaya’s excuse to withdraw from the Rome Statute last week, saying it is possible that a coup d’etat such as the one that brought down Egypt’s first democratically elected government in 2013 could happen in Malaysia if people are incited by certain parties.

“As you know, the police and the military are also fundamentally Malay-based institutions. That is why it is very important to handle these issues with care,” the Shah Alam MP from Amanah told reporters in Parliament today.

This followed Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah saying that fears of coup d’etat instigated by the “deep state” and “certain apparatus” were behind Malaysia’s decision to quit the international treaty it ratified last month.

Citing Egypt as an example, Khalid said the new government there was controlled by the “deep state” where a secret government network operates independently of the country’s political leadership.

He said a number of issues could be used to provoke the public before they are exploited by the “deep state”.

“It’s quite natural for us to think that when a change in government occurs, especially in a country like Malaysia where it has never happened before, there are quarters who do not agree with change and they may exist as an organised entity within the administration,” he said.

Meanwhile, responding to a document purportedly submitted by several academics to the Malay rulers warning them of the “dangers” of the Rome Statute, Khalid said there should be a public debate on the issue.

Khalid said experts from Europe could also be invited to explain the treaty to the Malaysian public to dispel their fears.

“We know that the royal institution was dragged in. And we had to handle the issue with care.”

Asked about the possibility of the government ratifying the Rome Statute in the future, Khalid said it depends on the public’s understanding of the treaty.

On Friday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced Malaysia’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute, following protests from the Johor palace, namely from crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.