KUALA LUMPUR, (June 24) — Malaysia will continue to propagate moderation as a useful tool in foreign policy, especially in dealing with conflicts, said Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin.
He said that the concept, which has been positively received by ASEAN members as a key value, played an important role in promoting peace and stability, and also a plea for the silent majority to stand up against extremism and radicalism.
“We believe moderation can be practiced at the national level. It can direct regional policy at the international level, and moderation can guide our approach in addressing the worrying trend in the rise of extremism and radicalism.
“The success of the approach was evident from Malaysia’s contribution as an honest broker in the peace process and national reconciliation of our neighbours in southern Philippines,” Hamzah said while opening the ASEAN-United Nation (UN) Regional Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday.
The dialogue on Lessons Learned and Best Practices In Conflict Prevention And Maintenance Of Peace And Stability In Multicultural And Pluralistic Societies, was co-hosted by Wisma Putra and the UN and co-organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS).
Hamzah noted that Malaysia was always committed to working actively and tirelessly towards a global political and socio-economic stability and security within the multilateral system.
He said that Malaysia might not be a perfect model of a pluralistic society, but Putrajaya’s commitment and devotion to the principle of multiculturalism was clear.
“The preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within the nation is a policy that has helped shape and defined what Malaysia is today.
“Similarly, I believe that the different cultures and identities within ASEAN has also shaped and defined what ASEAN is today,” he said.
However, Hamzah reminded everyone that there were countries that continued to experience tension, related to those underlying differences, and in some cases, the tension has led to internal conflicts.
The deputy minister said that the internal conflicts, be it due to ethnic strife, religious intolerance and discrimination, or political differences, would continue to be a cause of concern in the region.
“Malaysia will continue to play a facilitative role in addressing these internal conflicts, whenever such request is made. Malaysia played a key role in the Mindanao Peace Process which culminated in the recent signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27, this year.
“As the ASEAN Chair in 2015, Malaysia will play a key role in steering the work of ASEAN towards the establishment of one community and beyond 2015. Malaysia has identified the creation of a truly ‘People-Centered ASEAN’ as the central element and overarching theme of our Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015.
“A ‘People-Centered ASEAN’ will be a sharper instrument for the realisation of our peoples’ dreams, and will see a direct involvement of all sectors of society in ASEAN’s undertakings,” he said.—BERNAMA