SAN FRANCISCO: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim appeared generally happy with the outcome of his visit to the Apec 2023 summit here over the past week, reiterating Malaysia’s position on Gaza and securing pledges of billions of dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI).
Anwar said Malaysia unequivocally condemned the bombing of civilians, homes and hospitals and the consequential atrocities against innocent people, Bernama reported.
The death toll in the ongoing crisis since Oct 7 has passed 12,000.
“Every second matters and delay in a unanimous call by world leaders to stop the incessant bombing means more babies will be victimised,” Anwar said.
“I didn’t use the forum to condemn but to appeal … to stop the atrocities that are happening in Gaza.”
Anwar, who is also the finance minister, said Apec should remain a platform for all nations to come together to stimulate economic progress, while maintaining the highest standards of cooperation and respect.
“There is no doubt that the continued US-China rivalry will be the structural reality of world affairs, but emerging economies should not be pushed to take sides.
“Countries like Malaysia and Asean cannot be forced to see the world and big powers in the Cold War mindset,” he said.
He said the US has been a traditional ally and a major investor in Malaysia, but there has been a shift with increased trade and investment from China.
Hence, Beijing will remain central to regional affairs due to its size, proximity, and deep linkages with Southeast Asia.
“As China’s economy matures, it will shift emphasis from investment and exports towards domestic consumption and services,” Anwar said, adding that the sheer scale of China’s population ensures its enormous market will continue growing in significance.
“These realities mean constructive relations with China remain essential, even as we balance America’s enduring role.”
Hence, Malaysia still sees value in engaging both Washington and Beijing, he said.
Anwar also held official bilateral meetings with Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong and they agreed to increase cooperation to address illegal fishing in Malaysian waters.
Both leaders also discussed the issue of the South China Sea and agreed to fully adhere to the Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea, and called for an effective code of conduct.