Friday, January 9, 2015

Malaysia should ratify arms trade pact soon, says DAP

Malaysia should shift from mere verbal support for the Arms Trade Treaty to actual ratification of it, said a senior DAP leader.

M Kulasegaran, MP for Ipoh Barat, said the ATT has been entered into on Dec 24, 2014, but as at that date only 61 countries had ratified the treaty.

This, he said, was far short of the 130 countries, including Malaysia, who have signed on to supporting the ATT.

“Our passage from verbal support for the treaty to its actual ratification seemed assured but something happened last November,” opined Kulasegaran.

In that month, Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin told Parliament that there was no fixed timetable for Malaysia’s ratification of the ATT.

“This was at variance to statements made earlier by the de facto law minister and country’s envoy to the United Nations that the question of ratification posed no problems,” said the federal legislator.

According to the DAP leader, Law Minister Nancy Shukri  had assured a forum of the Parliamentarians for Global Action PGA) in Bogota, Columbia, in December 2013 that the Malaysian government was strongly supportive of the ATT.

Kulasegaran said this affirmation of support was reiterated by Hussein Haniff, Malaysia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, in November 2014.

Hussein told a General Assembly debate that “Malaysia is encouraged that the momentum gathered by the ATT will eventually lead to its entry in force in December 2014.

“Further,” Hussein said, “as a signatory it would lead to a balanced and effective implementation of the ATT.”

However, a month later, the Deputy Foreign Hamzah began to back away from these positions.

Kulasegaran said that Malaysia would send an “excellent and timely signal of its worthiness as a UN Security Council member” by ratifying the ATT.

He said the treaty was designed to regulate the international tarde in arms and was useful in preventing the use of the weapons for committing human rights abuses and other crimes against humanity.

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