Zahid does well at UN General Assembly


NEW YORK: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says he has discharged the task of leading the Malaysian delegation to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly entrusted to him by Prime Minister Najib Razak to the best of his ability.

“As for me, I will never disappoint when the prime minister entrusts me duties on the world stage,” said the deputy prime minister.

Zahid, who is also home minister, told Malaysian media this in wrapping up his Sept 17-25 working visit to New York to lead the Malaysian delegation at UNGA.

He noted that Malaysia, out of humanitarian concerns, had voiced out on a number of issues concerning the Muslim world, like Syria, Palestine and the Rohingya, at the General Assembly and other related meetings.

“Although Malaysia might not be a major player (on the world stage), we can contribute and also be involved in universal human issues.”

Zahid said he was pleased that the matters he raised in his speech at the general debate of the General Assembly on Saturday had been a balance of local and international concerns.

His speech was crafted around the themes of terrorism; Palestine; refugees, migrants and modern slavery; climate change; 11th Malaysia Plan; National Blue Ocean Strategy; and volunteerism.

Zahid had also taken the opportunity of addressing the General Assembly to hold aloft a book on deradicalisation, a Malaysian forte that Kuala Lumpur was keen to share with other countries facing threats from terror groups.

It has been translated into English, French and Arabic.

Besides calling on the world to stand united against terror on Saturday, the deputy prime minister had told the Security Council High-Level Meeting on Syria on Wednesday that after five long years, the time had come to once and for all resolve the conflict in Syria.

Zahid drew kudos for drawing attention to the grim reality facing Syrians, especially children, when the bombs rained down on the population in the conflict that began in 2011.

He met Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Saeb Salam on the sidelines of UNGA to seek Lebanon’s assistance over Malaysia’s intention to welcome Syrian migrants, including in the area of security screening.

He also drew attention to the equally dire situation in Palestine with the blockade on Gaza, the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, the continued construction of the illegal walls, the forced transfer of Palestinians from their homes and gross violations of human rights of Palestinians.

Zahid left no stone unturned in his quest to seek a permanent solution to the presence of over 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia in a face-to-face discussion with United Nations Refugee Agency Chief Filippo Grandi.

He capped a fruitful working visit by securing a pledge from Motorola Solutions to shift the company’s operations from a number of locations to Malaysia, in what was seen as a nod of confidence in the Southeast Asian country.