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M'sia strives for sustainable dev't, says Anifah
Published on: Sunday, September 24, 2017

NEW YORK: Sustainable development has been at the heart of Malaysia's development approach since the 1970s, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

Delivering Malaysia's statement at the General Debate of the 72nd Session of the ongoing UN General Assembly, here, Saturday, he said, in 2009, the Malaysian Government launched its New Economic Model featuring three new goals.

"These are to achieve high income, inclusivity and sustainability. These pursuits continue to resonate well with the three components of the 2030 Agenda, namely economic growth, social needs and environmental protection.

"We have also adopted forward-looking development policies through the Eleventh (11th) Malaysia Plan, spanning five years from 2016-2020 with the theme 'Anchoring Growth on People'," he said.

Anifah said this development plan reaffirms the Malaysian Government's commitment to a vision of growth anchored on the prosperity and well-being of its people while protecting the environment and strengthening peace.

And in July this year, Malaysia presented its Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said the VNR, which reports the actions and measures taken by Malaysia to advance the implementation of the SDGs, is testimony to Malaysia's continued commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

"The Government of Malaysia strives to ensure that each and every Malaysian has an equitable share in the prosperity and wealth of the country, and that no one will be left behind," he said.

Hence, the theme of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly – 'Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet' is most relevant and timely, "as we work collectively and individually to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030".

Anifah added: "This journey is 'no mean feat'. Some have even advocated that it should be the only focus for the entire international community to strive towards ensuring our future survival in an inclusive manner.

"We must strengthen our resolve and fulfill our promise to each and every citizen of the world that 'no one will be left behind'."

On this basis, Malaysia has always oriented its development agenda to accomplish this very promise.

On another matter, Anifah said Malaysia strongly believes in continuing to strengthen and enhance legislative and collective enforcement capabilities in confronting international security threats, in particular the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) specifically to non-State actors.

"We remain steadfastly committed to our international obligations in the fields of disarmament and international security through various national, regional and international approaches," he said.

In this regard, Malaysia reiterated its strong condemnation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) nuclear tests and missile launches which seriously undermined the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

Anifah called on the DPRK to desist from conducting further nuclear tests and missile launches, to halt its nuclear and ballistic missiles programme, and to comply fully with its international obligations in the interest of the maintenance of international peace and security.

He said Malaysia joins other nations in stressing the need for the immediate resumption of peaceful dialogue and negotiations among the relevant parties towards finding a durable solution to this longstanding conflict.

Meanwhile, Anifah noted that the 193 Member States of UN are also seeing a convergence of new security threats emerging from irregular migration and transnational crime activities, which include terrorism, trafficking in persons, illicit drug trafficking, money laundering and cyber-crimes.

"The threats we face today have an increasingly regional and international impact, affecting our economies and lives in ways which we have never experienced before.

"For these reasons, Malaysia has taken significant efforts to improve our legislation and enforcement capabilities by adopting a holistic approach in preventing and combating these heinous crimes," he pointed out.

He, however, lamented that as we devote our attention to peace, decent life and a sustainable planet, there are people in this world who are suffering from horrifying crimes against humanity.

He cited as an example, the recurrence of violence over the past few weeks, instigated by a delusional and desperate militant group of Rohingyas in Rakhine State.

Based on reports, the subsequent 'clearance operations' by Myanmar have claimed countless innocent civilian lives and caused more than 400,000 Rohingyas to flee their homes.

Anifah said indiscriminate violence perpetrated against the Rohingyas during these operations is of grave concern for Malaysia and also to others. "Such atrocities have unleashed a full-scale humanitarian crisis that the world simply cannot ignore but must be compelled to act."

His contention is that if the current situation is not addressed judiciously, the desperate people in Rakhine will become easy prey to recruitment by extremists. "Prolonged frustration, anger and deprivation provide a fertile breeding-ground for it."

Though the Myanmar Government has given its repeated assurances to implement measures to resolve the issue, the Foreign Minister said the recent incidents of violence have not assuaged Malaysia's concerns for effective safeguards to be put in place on the ground.

"Therefore, I call upon the Government of Myanmar to end the violence and stop the destruction to life and properties, and allow immediate unimpeded access for the delivery of humanitarian aid," he said.

At this juncture, Anifah commended the Bangladesh Government for doing their utmost in receiving almost half a million Rohingya refugees in the past three weeks. "Sheltering such a huge number of refugees certainly puts a strain on any country."

Malaysia had dispatched humanitarian aid to Bangladesh on September 9 and will do more.

"In the spirit of compassion and humanity, I call on the international community to support the humanitarian efforts in Bangladesh."

On a similar note, Anifah said their collective failure in finding a solution to the Palestinian question is unacceptable, given that the situation in Palestine remains daunting and appalling as Israel continues to violate international law with its heavy-handed approach against the defenceless Palestinians.

As Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory marks the 50th year, the Foreign Minister called for continued intensifying efforts in finding a just and durable solution to the Palestinian question.

Malaysia reiterates that any action by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem is illegal and totally unacceptable.

"We remain extremely concerned over the lack of accountability by the Israeli occupying forces, as well as the ongoing blockade of Gaza and the resulting humanitarian crisis.

"We are extremely dismayed with the diminishing prospect of peaceful co-existence as Israel's illegal settlement activities continue unabated," said Anifah, adding the implementation of Resolution 2334 adopted by the UN Security Council on 23 December 2016 remains a challenge.

In this regard, Malaysia reiterates its support for the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and its pro-active approach to pronounce the need for a written quarterly report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the said resolution.

"We urge the international community, especially Member States, to remain firmly principled in supporting this vital call. If we continue to allow for the resolution to be deliberately weakened in an unashamedly manner and rendering it unimplementable, we would be guilty of deconstructing the two-state solution," he said.

Malaysia will continue to support the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Saying the plight of some five million registered Palestine refugees must not be ignored, Anifah urged the international community to strengthen its commitment in providing financial assistance and other relevant assistance to UNRWA.

In its fight against the scourge of violent extremism, Malaysia reiterated the continued urgency to harness the approach of moderation to negate the propagation of extremism and radicalisation.

To this end, the Foreign Minister restated Malaysia's call for a Global Movement of Moderates, made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2010, to douse the flame of hatred and stem the influence of extreme and myopic ideas of intolerance, xenophobia and racial hatred, among others.

"It is imperative for communities of different race, religion and culture to band together in seeking common peaceful aspirations and celebrate our diversity rather than be influenced, and enticed into extremist traps," Anifah added.

Malaysia, therefore, looks forward to bringing forth the Global Movement of Moderates initiative to the UN through a Resolution at this ongoing 72nd Session. "It is imperative that the voices of reason, tolerance and understanding drown out the voices which glorify extremism that sows seeds of hatred among our communities."

To successfully perform the arduous tasks at hand, Anifah said the United Nations cannot afford to stand still and remain idle.

Since taking over the helm of the Organisation, the Secretary-General together with the UN Secretariat has initiated various efforts to make the Organisation more efficient, effective, agile and fit-for-purpose.

Anifah commended the dynamic leadership of the Secretary-General as reflected in his various reform initiatives which include the review of the Peace and Security Architecture, enhancing the overall Development System and UN Management Reform, among others.

"Malaysia is of the view that any major reform initiative that may include cost-cutting measures should not hamper or disrupt the Organisation's existing development efforts to achieve peace and a decent life for all.

This includes development programmes in developing countries, especially countries in areas of conflict, peacekeeping operations and peace-building," he said.

Anifah pledged the Malaysian delegation's full cooperation, support and commitment in working closely with the UN Secretary General, all UN Member States and various stakeholders towards implementing the reform initiatives.

"Let us strengthen our resolve in fulfilling our collective responsibilities," he said.

He assured Malaysia's continued support and commitment to the agenda of the United Nations and the work of the General Assembly. - Mary Chin

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