Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad addresses the media after chairing the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council meeting at Yayasan Selangor. Also present are (seated, from left) Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and several other leaders. - NSTP/SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was initially scheduled to launch the human rights day celebration organised by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will not be gracing the event.

The event, which was earlier scheduled to take place this morning, was postponed to tomorrow, in a last minute announcement made by Suhakam yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after chairing the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council meeting at Yayasan Selangor, here, today, Mahathir said he could not attend the event because of the government's stand on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Mahathir said the government had earlier announced Malaysia would not be signing the treaty.

"But Suhakam wants to accept ICERD, so how can I go," he said.

Asked why the human rights day celebration was postponed to tomorrow, Mahathir said there was concern on deploying police personnel to two events taking place on the same day.

"The police have to dispatch officers at two places and this will cause some pressure and shortage of manpower," he said.

Yesterday, Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said he was informed by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun to postpone the celebration due to security risks.

Razali said he was not given further details on the risks and informed that Suhakam did not receive any threats.

Meanwhile, asked if he would be making an appearance at the anti ICERD rally at Dataran Merdeka this afternoon, Mahathir said, "No..I am very much thankful enough."

His reply is a jibe at the organisers who previously said today's gathering was to give thanks that the government would not be acceding to ICERD.

Prior to the government announcing it would not be signing the treaty, the rally was to oppose any attempt by Malaysia to sign it.

In a sarcastic manner, Mahathir also "thanked" the one million people who would be joining the rally today.

Earlier on, organisers of the anti ICERD rally expressed their confidence that they would be able to gather one million participants at Dataran Merdeka.

The figure was later revised to 500,000.

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