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Anifah: Not winning seat on UN body has no impact

 | October 20, 2017

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman chides DAP's Liew Chin Tong for 'sinister intention' asking about country's failure to get seat on UN Human Rights Council.

anifah-Liew-Chin-TongPETALING JAYA: Foreign Minister Anifah Aman has dismissed any suggestion that Wisma Putra’s failure in its effort to win a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council will taint the country’s reputation and image on the international front.

Responding to comments made by Kulai MP Liew Chin Tong in a report entitled “How did Malaysia lose bid for seat in UN Council” earlier today, Anifah took the DAP man to task for having sinister intentions in asking such a question.

“Malaysia’s foreign policy is resilient enough to withstand situations such as this and we will continue to pursue a policy which places the nation’s interest above all else, irrespective of how many Councils, Bodies or Organisations we are part of,” Anifah said in an official statement from Wisma Putra.

Liew, who is also DAP national political education director, had said that it was “shocking” that Malaysia had failed in its diplomatic efforts and that he would ask the foreign minister for an explanation at the Dewan Rakyat when the next sitting convenes next week.

“Anifah should also disclose in Parliament how much it cost Malaysia to lobby and campaign for the position,” Liew had said.

With regard to the cost, the foreign minister said that the “ministry was extremely frugal during its lobbying efforts”, adding it could have been one of the contributing factors.

“With regard to the reason for our unsuccessful bid, there could be several probable assumptions. Among them are that member states decided to back a first-time candidate, early submission of candidature and the ability to campaign aggressively due to unlimited financial resources,” Anifah said.

The Sabah Umno leader and Kimanis MP then lauded Malaysia’s track record at the UN and its performance on human rights panels in the past.

“I also wish to state that Malaysia was an active member of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for three terms before the Commission was dissolved. Subsequently, Malaysia has been on the Human Rights Council (HRC) twice before, that is 2006-2009, and 2010-2013.

“Throughout its tenure as a HRC member, Malaysia played an active role in the promotion and protection of human rights at the multilateral level.

“During Malaysia’s most recent term, the HRC had taken bold and decisive steps on a number of human rights situations around the world including Libya, Syria and on the situation in Occupied Palestine,” he said.

Yesterday, it was reported that Malaysia just missed out on getting a seat on the UNHRC for the three-year term of 2018-2020.

Malaysia received 129 votes, against the other four Asian countries vying for the four vacancies allocated to the continent – Nepal (165 votes), Qatar (155), Pakistan (151) and Afghanistan (130).

While Qatar is into their second consecutive term, the other three countries are first-time members.

Anifah also stressed on the importance of having friendly ties with member states that had won their seat on the UNHRC.

“Losing this bid therefore, does not negate the fact that Malaysia will not be able to raise and discuss issues related to human rights in the international realm, for though we may have lost our UNHRC bid, we have formed strong friendships as it’s not only about winning but gaining friends in the process.

“For Malaysia today has like-minded friends on the Council who share similar views and outlooks on many issues related to human rights, and Malaysia will utilise this opportunity to further the country’s commitment in pursuing issues related to human rights.”

How did Malaysia lose bid for seat in UN council, asks DAP man


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