P. Waytha Moorthy said feedback from the engagements would be submitted to the government for a decision. (NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR)

PUTRAJAYA: A series of public engagement to seek views on International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) will be held beginning January next year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P. Waytha Moorthy said feedback from the engagements would be submitted to the government for a decision.

“We are not setting a time frame on the number of engagements. We will consult the people and only then will decide,” he said today.

He said the mechanism on how it will be conducted, would be discussed soon.

“The matter involves various communities and Islamic groups, so I have to discuss with a cabinet colleague and seek views on the aspects of Islam.

“We will then discuss and plan on how to hold the engagements,” he said, adding that the events would take place sequentially in states.

The debate over ICERD intensified recently with some groups claiming that the special rights of the Bumiputeras, as well as the positions of the Malay language and Islam, would be undermined if the convention was ratified.

Several rallies have also taken place to voice objections against ICERD.

Last week, the Malaysian delegation at the third Universal Periodic Review by the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, reaffirmed the government’s decision to ratify all remaining UN rights treaties, including the ICERD.

Earlier, Waytha attended the launch of The Metta Convention 2018 themed ‘Opening of Hearts’.

In his opening speech, he said the new government would focus on empowering religious tolerance and social well-being of the people in the country.

The Metta Convention 2018, which runs for three days from today (Friday), is currently held for the fourth time this year.

The convention seeks to promote the practice of Metta (loving-kindness) by bringing together like-minded people in the spirit of love and compassion.

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