PUTRAJAYA, April 23 (Bernama) -- The Foreign Ministry would be more careful regarding the way it communicates on important matters and policies following the Rome Statute issue, said its Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
At the same time, he said there’s also a need to expose the bluff and manipulation of facts surrounding the Rome Statute issue which have led to confusion among members of the public.
“Perhaps we can communicate better and explain this thing better to public. But we are also faced with people who manipulate facts. They didn’t explain the real thing.
“Manipulation of facts is sometimes coupled with fearmongering, and the manipulation of facts caused undue worries that should not arise, which is why the cabinet made such a decision (to withdraw from the Statute),” he told reporters in an interview at his office in Wisma Putra here, Monday.
He said the country encountered the same situation when it wanted to sign the ICERD, where the facts of the ICERD were twisted.
The minister said this when asked to comment on why the Rome Statute became an issue which led to Malaysia’s decision to withdraw from the treaty.
The minister said he has so far appeared on two talk shows to call out these bluffs as well as to inform the public on the facts of the statute.
The ICC was established in 2002 and governed by the Rome Statute.
The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court, with the objective to end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.
Malaysia signed the Rome Statute on March 4, 2019, and deposited it with the secretary general of the United Nations on the same day.
On April 5, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia will withdraw from the Rome Statute of ICC following the confusion that arose politically and within the society, stressing that the decision is not because the Statute is harmful to the country.
Meanwhile, in his speech at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly speech in New York in September 2018, Dr Mahathir said that Malaysia will ratify all remaining core UN instruments related to the protection of human rights.
Following that, in October 2018, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P. Waytha Moorthy said the government is committed to ratifying six treaties, including the ICERD, in the first quarter of 2019.
But in November 2018, the government announced that it will not ratify the ICERD, saying that it was taking public views into account before making a decision.
Saifuddin said the ministry has mooted for the formation of a select committee on foreign policy in the parliament, which would be the platform to discuss such matters in the future.
He pointed out that bringing treaties and agreements to the select committee is a good way but “I'm not so sure if you want to debate on the floor.”
The minister cautioned that doing so would create a new precedent on the process of decision-making.
“As much as we want to be consultative, there must be a way. And our way, the platform is the select committee because it’s something that is parliamentarian, something that people can understand,” he said.
However, Saifuddin said the government can’t have a situation where everything has to be brought to the parliament.
“Yes, there are matters where you need to get the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and or the Malay rulers’ consent, but ICC is not one of those,” he said.
The minister said that in the past, more than 100 treaties have either been signed, or signed and ratified at the same time by Malaysia. Of these, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement was the sole treaty tabled in the parliament.