Many ordinary Malaysians see the Rome Statute as much-needed machinery to support the people’s battle against corruption and abuse of power, writes JD Lovernciear.
The prime minister’s announcement that the government is not going forward with signing the Rome Statute after all has not gone down well with some segments of society.
The hints (or clearly understood expose) that certain powers that be were behind the government’s U-turn have also drawn criticism over social media.
This troubling outcome is being widely seen as disagreement between a royal house and the government. But it is not the politicians nor the royal households who can decide whether we ratify the Rome Statute or otherwise. Ultimately, it is the people who will have to decide what they, as a nation of people, want.
All the misrepresentations – namely that the Rome Statute would erode racial rights, religious honour and the framework of the constitutional monarchy – should not be the deciding factor for the government to shelve the ratification of the International Criminal Court.
All the arguments from the corridors of power in support of the Rome Statute are important. But these alone cannot unlock the door to global and international progress.
It is the citizens who have the real power to demand ratification of or to reject the Rome Statute, which actually has been under consideration by the government for over two decades (as revealed by former Foreign Minister Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen, a member of the Kelantan royalty).
Royal households and those in government are there to enable the process of meeting the people’s aspirations for a progressive nation.
Those politicians who are politicising the signing of the Rome Statute in the hope of boosting their popularity while weakening their opponents are guilty of ignoring the real objectives of the Rome Statute.
There are many ordinary Malaysians who see the Rome Statute as much-needed machinery that supports the citizens’ battle against genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
To use the fear of the erosion of the three Rs (race, religion and royalty) to stall the government’s decision or to force a U-turn would be a setback to the aspirations of becoming a progressive nation.