PUTRAJAYA 24 FEBRUARY 2017. Temubual khas bersama Menteri Luar, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman di kementerian Luar Negara, Putrajaya. NSTP/ABD. RAHIM RAHMATABD RAHIM RAHMAT

PUTRAJAYA: Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman has officially open the Malaysian Embassy to The Holy See, today.

In a speech at the opening of the embassy, he said the establishment of diplomatic relations with The Holy See signifies the country's commitment to enhance the existing mutual ties between both countries, particularly in religious issues, as well as to promote better understanding in religion.

This is in line with Malaysia’s initiative of the Global Movement of Moderate, he said.

"Malaysia established diplomatic ties with the Vatican on July 27, 2011. Following the establishment of diplomatic relations, Malaysia accredited the Malaysian Ambassador in Switzerland to The Holy See.

"On Nov 25, 2015, we made the decision to establish an Embassy of Malaysia to The Holy See, with residence in Rome. His Excellency Bernard Giluk Dompok was appointed as the first resident Ambassador to The Holy See," he said.

With the establishment of a resident embassy based in Rome, Malaysia was able to participate and contribute to worldwide dialogues on various regional and international issues, particularly on promoting religious understanding, education, poverty eradication, migration, as well as on climate change, he added.

Anifah is currently on a three-day working visit to the Holy See from May 8 to 10.

He added that Malaysia strongly believed on the need to practice moderation as the fundamental element to foster greater integration, ensuring peaceful coexistence through the rejection of extremism that undermines the universal values of religion.

"One of the biggest challenges in today’s world is to fight extremist groups which are growing regionally and internationally. Extremism is a cancer to the world, as it creates chaos and political instability in a country.

"We have witnessed in the media the aftermath and chaos caused by the deeds of extremists. There is nothing to gain out of such deeds. In fact, the suffering of innocent people is indeed sad and inflammatory," he said.

Following this, Malaysia’s efforts to promote moderation has gained recognition with the country seen as a model of a modern, dynamic and progressive nation rising up to the challenges of a multicultural society.

Anifah said Malaysia also welcomed future collaboration with the various Pontifical councils, international organisations and non-government organisations in hosting dialogues and seminars aimed at promoting better religious understanding in the near future.

"I am positive that there will be many future collaborations with Malaysia in the various political, economic and social-development issues of mutual interest." he added.