Co-President, Gan Ping Sieu on the Rome Statute Controversy
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
The Federal government should urgently clarify the confusion and misinformation surrounding the Cabinet's decision for Malaysia to withdraw from ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This is to defuse rising public anxiety over the issue that is showing no signs of abating.

All concerns raised by stakeholders, including those purported from the royal households', need to be properly explained and clarified. This is to avert further fallout from this controversy, which could lead to a constitutional crisis that we can do without.

Over the past few weeks, the communications on what would have been a straightforward matter of Malaysia ratifying an international treaty, has left much to be desired. This has allowed irresponsible leaders to sow distrust and discord due to misunderstanding over this issue. This also goes against the principle of moderation and good governance which we advocate.

Among others, there's been a lack of clarity from the start over why Malaysia ought to ratify the treaty and the reasons surrounding the withdrawal beyond vague notions. Making matters worse is allegations of a coup d’état; purported existence of a "deep state" and how a report supposedly prepared by a few academicians was used as basis to tilt the palace into withdrawing support for the statute.

These only fuelled public suspicion, heightened anxiety and created the perception of strained ties between Putrajaya and the palace. It is most unfortunate that the government had not learnt its lesson. Last year, Malaysia abandoned the decision to ratify International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). As with the Rome Statute, then the lack of communications also led to radicals hijacking the ICERD issue for political gains.  

Had Malaysia ratified the Rome Statute, it would have been consistent with our policy of upholding international principles of freedom, justice and peace. We've had a long tradition of speaking up for the Palestinians and the Rohingyas, as well as numerous victims of atrocities and crime against humanity.

There is also unfounded fear of the institution of monarchy and Islam being undermined had Malaysia ratified this. All developed countries and many others with monarch like Japan, United Kingdom, Jordan, Spain and Cambodia have ratified the statute. The communication gaps that led to misunderstanding, whether among the royalty or public, could have been averted.

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