Let's regain international recognition

LETTERS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is in a good position to review the country's diplomacy and foreign relations, and help us regain recognition in international affairs.

Over the years, Malaysia has prepared itself well by taking on more responsibilities at the international level in the eight identifiable areas of a globalised world.

They include support of agreements through the intergovernmental forums within the United Nations; active participation in the international bodies; a leading role in regional organizations, hosting maritime and environmental conferences; projecting a humanitarian image globally; keeping abreast of science and technology; pursuing joint cooperation with countries on trade, finance and economic matters, following up on issues of cybersecurity, and updating on space science issues and development.

To list almost all that we, as a country, have achieved since becoming an independent and sovereign nation in 1957 by becoming standard bearers in the globalised domain of diplomacy, foreign policy and foreign relations will not be enough for the country to enable it to move on.

Beyond the Covid-19 crisis and the foreign policy record, which were played out during the two interim governments that have been managing the country from 2020 to 2022, we now have a new government.

The question is, how the country can regain global recognition and become more "globalwise".

The answer lies in the fact that no country can survive alone and in isolation.

Secondly, we undertake foreign relations to get reciprocal action from another country or group of countries, now or in the future.

On record, the country's success in foreign policy has come through keeping pace with development within the global environment.Included in the global trends that have impacted extensively on Malaysia's foreign policy, are the following: ideology, regionalism, multilateralism, liberalisation and humanitarianism.

Now, in international relations and diplomacy, we are seeing countries, big and small, treat their "sovereignty" issues as a matter to be shared and settled between them and other countries.

The Malaysian experience thus far has been based on surviving in a globalised world, by sharing its sovereignty with other countries. By doing so, it has not faced the risk of being cut off from the rest of the world.

The country has not ceased to play a role as a full member of the international system.

The above would signify that the country has agreed to accept the principle of shared sovereignty through diplomatic dialogue.

As to the future, we could fall back on the country's past and present achievements when we matured as a country with shared sovereignty.

Examples would include being one of the founders of Asean and then moving on to the Declaration of Southeast Asia as a Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone and Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality.

Subsequently, we got the world to agree to name Antarctica the "Heritage of Mankind".

Malaysia's successful record in meeting this need for "shared sovereignty" in the protection of its national interests, in the past and present, could be due to three significant factors: a forward-looking leadership, the adoption of an open and independent foreign policy and a willingness to go for change.

Additionally, through a process of empowerment, participatory consultation and inclusivity — issues familiar to the prime minister — the government can make good on its promise to adopt a foreign policy that can ensure the continued prosperity and stability of our country.


Former Malaysian ambassador,

Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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