PETALING JAYA: The government’s decision to help rebuild Sri Lanka’s war-torn northern province is “very strange” since there are still many urgent and serious issues that need to be resolved at home, says a former diplomat.
“Foreign policy begins at home. We need to focus and give priority to efforts at solving so many domestic problems in Malaysia, especially with the rising cost of living and hardship faced by the people,” said Redzuan Kushairi, who was the Malaysian ambassador to Uzbekistan.
He was commenting on Prime Minister Najib Razak’s offer to help the Sri Lankan region with the cooperation of Malaysian NGOs.
Najib, during his newly-concluded official visit to Sri Lanka, said a special mission would be sent to the island nation to see what aid could be given.
He said Jaffna, the capital city of the northern province, was under pressure after the civil war, fought with the separatist Tamil Tigers, left 45,000 women as single mothers without any source of income while 11,000 former soldiers were unemployed.
Redzuan said Malaysia must focus on resolving its issues related to governance, poor accountability, transparency, corruption and kleptocracy.
“No matter what the reasons, how can Malaysia venture into ambitious policies abroad when there are so many urgent and serious issues at home?” he asked.
He added that good foreign policy must be firmly grounded in good domestic leadership and healthy socio-economic and political policies.