KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — The 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York concluded on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob delivering the statement last Friday (Sept 23) that conveyed Malaysia’s concern over current global issues.
Analysts deemed Ismail Sabri’s message as a continuation of Malaysia’s neutral and pragmatic voice on the international stage, especially at a time of pressing global challenges including climate change, food security, inflation and Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Malaysia’s biggest concern is that small nations remain at the mercy of powerful ones, including the UN Security Council (UNSC) members with veto power whose actions have made the United Nations (UN) a toothless tiger. Malaysia wants to see UN fulfill its role as originally envisioned and not hijacked by those with veto power.
“Malaysia has always been a neutral and pragmatic voice at the United Nations (UN), and Ismail Sabri continues with that tradition,” said principal adviser of the Pacific Research Centre of Malaysia Dr Oh Ei Sun when contacted by Bernama.
Key points from the prime minister’s speech include the call for the veto power of UN Security Council (UNSC) be abolished; call for developed nations to help developing countries affected by climate change; address Palestinian crisis; and find a lasting solution for Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis.
Oh, who is also senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the prime minister should be credited for Malaysia’s strong stand on the Myanmar crisis, which is a common concern for the whole of Southeast Asia.
“Ismail Sabri has understandably done his utmost under difficult circumstances, namely the pandemic, to retain Malaysia’s role on the international stage,” he said.
Ismail Sabri told the UNGA last Friday that the Security Council had not taken “any serious action” in dealing with the situation in Myanmar and described UNSC’s response as “very saddening”.
Malaysia has been leading calls for a tougher approach on Myanmar’s junta and for ASEAN to better engage with Myanmar’s major stakeholders, including the National Unity Government (NUG) elected by the people of Myanmar prior to the coup.
The same view on Malaysia’s participation in UNGA was also shared by Prof Dr Zaid Ahmad from the Department of National Studies and Civilisation, Universiti Putra Malaysia, saying that Malaysia has always sent a loud and clear message about its position on pressing global issues on international stage and on UN itself.
“For example, the Rohingya issue. We did not intentionally interfere in Myanmar’s affairs but this refugee issue affects Malaysia. We have to manage the refugees.
“A small country like Malaysia,…where else do we want to complain if not at a higher level like the UN?” he said.
Zaid, who is also the Honorary Secretary General of the Malaysian History Association, drew attention to the concept of “peaceful coexistence” to deal with international conflicts that the prime minister presented.
“This concept for me needs to be expanded and raised every time we are on the international stage,” he said, adding that matters that are important to Malaysia, and which need to be raised at the international level, were clearly conveyed at the gathering.
Meanwhile, looking at the current geopolitical and economic upheavals driven by self-serving interests of certain parties the World Family concept, the larger extension of Ismail Sabri’s Malaysian Family ideal that he introduced in his inaugural speech when he took over the country’s leadership, could contribute considerably to a new world order.