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Anifah giving excuses instead of real answers, says Liew

 | October 20, 2017

DAP's Liew Chin Tong says Foreign Minister has yet to provide concrete answers on Malaysia's failure to secure a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

liew-chin-tong-anipah-amanPETALING JAYA: Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong today criticised Anifah Aman’s response to his queries on Malaysia’s failure to secure a seat on the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, saying the foreign minister had given “mostly excuses instead of real answers”.

In a statement, Liew said Anifah had not answered his questions on why Malaysia lost its bid for the seat; why it was rejected by member countries; and how much was spent on lobbying for the seat in question.

“Did we fail because member countries rejected our pledges and commitments? Or is there more than meets the eye?” he asked, adding if it was also because Malaysia’s reputation had been tarnished by its global scandals.

Liew also slammed the minister for “being condescending” in how he addressed his statement and alleging that he had sinister intentions in asking the questions.

In his statement yesterday, Liew asked why Malaysia had failed in its diplomatic efforts to gain a seat on the UN council.

He said he would submit a parliamentary question on the issue at the Dewan Rakyat next week.

He added that Anifah should reveal in Parliament how much it cost Malaysia to lobby and campaign for the position.

However, Anifah said Malaysia’s foreign policy was resilient enough to withstand such situations.

In an official statement from Wisma Putra, he added that the country would continue to pursue a policy which placed the nation’s interests above all else, “irrespective of how many councils, bodies or organisations we are part of”.

Anifah also said there could be several reasons behind Malaysia’s unsuccessful bid, including the decision by member states to back a first-time candidate, early submission of candidature and the ability to campaign aggressively due to unlimited financial resources.

He added that the ministry had been “extremely frugal” during its lobbying efforts, and that this could have been one of the contributing factors.

He also said it was important to have friendly ties with member states that had won seats on the council.

In rebutting Anifah’s claims, Liew said Malaysia shouldn’t have competed in the election in the first place as it could have just “used its friends”.

He also addressed Anifah’s suggestions as to why Malaysia had lost its bid for the seat.

If it was due to member states backing a first-time candidate, he said, “Again, if we knew this, why did we compete?”

He added that from what he gathered, Malaysia had made its submission in January, which was not late at all.

On Anifah’s suggestion that other countries were able to campaign aggressively due to unlimited financial resources, Liew’s asked: “What are we trying to imply here: that other countries have used a lot of money?

“Or that we failed to match them in terms of money spent for the campaign? Or we didn’t use money?

“What does the minister mean when he said ‘the ministry was extremely frugal during its lobbying efforts’? How much money was spent and how was the campaign conducted? This is important because it involves taxpayers’ money.”

Liew said he hoped Anifah would not avoid answering these questions in Parliament next week, and that the minister would “provide real answers instead of excuses”.

He added that Anifah could also table a ministerial statement to Parliament to explain the matter.

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