PUTRAJAYA — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has strongly suggested Asean to think of more effective measures to resolve the crisis in Myanmar that has been affecting other countries in this region including Malaysia.
Speaking at the interaction session with 106 Malaysian heads of diplomatic missions abroad, here Tuesday, Anwar said he had also spoke with his Asean counterparts regarding the issue.
He said the crisis in Myanmar has led to the influx of refugees from the country, with Malaysia currently hosting approximately 200,000 Rohingya refugees.
“In every session with the Prime Minister of Thailand and Singapore, President of the Philippines and Indonesia, I made a point to strongly suggest that Asean must continue to engage, yes, but then think of some other effective means to resolve this because otherwise we are subjected to this atrocities not only in Myanmar but also on us,” he said.
Anwar said the refugee issue has been exacerbated by the refusal of Myanmar’s military junta to negotiate and respect their Asean neighbours.
He noted that the old narrative of constructive engagement is not quite relevant anymore as Asean has been doing the same thing for the last four decades and the 10-member bloc cannot choose to ignore the issue due the non-interference policy.
“Yes, there is non-interference (policy), I’m not suggesting we should go interfere and attack but that position has caused us economic hardship and political ramifications. Therefore, we cannot choose to ignore,“ he said.
While protecting Malaysia’s interests, Anwar stressed that Malaysia has to take a position on this issue and uphold its values.
“What is the relevance of Madani? Madani is an attempt to ensure that we succeed as a nation, peaceful, but also be able to contribute to humanity. So we have to take a position,“ he said.
The Madani concept was officially introduced by Anwar in January based on six pillars – sustainability, prosperity, innovation, respect, trust and compassion.
On the role of diplomatic officials, Anwar said as international challenges can happen spontaneously and also simultaneously, Malaysia needs competent diplomatic professionals to be able to grasp, deal and advise the government accordingly.
He lauded Wisma Putra’s initiative in engaging senior or retired diplomats to train and give the necessary exposure to the younger diplomats.
“It is a lot of efforts of learning curve of diplomatic encounters that make them qualified professionally, without denying the fact that our diplomatic efforts have been generally regarded as quite outstanding compared to most developing countries,“ Anwar said.
Themed ‘Diplomacy in a Globalised World from the Lens of Malaysia Madani’, the interaction session interaction session was the Prime Minister’s first engagement with the Malaysian heads of diplomatic mission, involving ambassadors, high commissioners, permanent representatives, consuls-general and chargé d’affaires ad interim. – Bernama