Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (C) waves as he arrives at the Da Nang International Airport ahead of the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (APEC) in Da Nang, Vietnam, 09 November 2017. The APEC summit brings together world leaders from its 21 member nations. It is the second time Vietnam is hosting the summit, the first was in 2006. EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called on world leaders from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to take advantage of the summit in Vietnam, to determine collective actions on a raft of geo-political issues plaguing the region.

In a blog posting today, Najib said APEC member countries was ideally positioned to enhance the socio-economic welfare of their citizens as well as to address global security challenges.

“The future we share just within APEC encompasses 40 per cent of the world’s population, 54 per cent of global GDP and 44 per cent of world trade.

“This grouping is ideally positioned to enhance the well-being of our citizens, both in the economic and social realms. And also to address the many challenges the world currently faces – that threaten not just the future but the present,” he said.

Najib said the first part of the summit’s theme this year – “Creating new dynamism” – could not be achieved without placing a firm emphasis on the second – “fostering a shared future.”

“…we face huge challenges in Asia Pacific: from rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, to the scourge of the Islamic State (IS) and its regional affiliates in Southeast Asia, to the suffering and persecution that has caused unprecedented mass migration in the Andaman Sea and in neighbouring countries.

“A gathering of world leaders, such as this one, must take advantage of being together to consider what we all collectively can do to take action,” he urged.

Najib cited the government’s efforts in addressing various geo-political issues, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear tests.

“On Malaysia’s part, we have been consistent in our strong condemnation of the series of nuclear tests that have been conducted by the DPRK,” he said.

On grappling with the IS threat, Najib said Malaysia stands proud with many other countries in the Global Coalition Against Daesh and had introduced a number of counter-terrorism legislation over the past few years.

“For when we see what happened in Marawi City in the Philippines recently, it is clear that this is a threat that is real and present in our region. Nobody should underestimate it, and I will never apologise for putting the safety and security of the Malaysian people first.

“But this challenge needs to be dealt with in a number of ways: not just by prevention, but also by battling radicalisation and working to rehabilitate those who have been falsely lured away by criminals who blaspheme the name of Islam,” he said.

Najib also highlighted the persecution of the Rohingya, saying that eventhough religion should be about peace, brotherhood and mutual respect, it had not been the case in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

“… it is plain for the world to see that a campaign of ethnic cleansing has taken place against the Rohingya, a community that has suffered such terrible atrocities that a substantial proportion of them have fled the land they call home.

“Malaysia was one of the first countries to call for action. And we have led numerous humanitarian initiatives, sending goods and establishing a field hospital to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh,” he added.

Despite these security challenges, Najib said APEC countries should not stand by and be idle.

“The Malaysian government will always push for efforts to ensure peace, stability and security in Asia Pacific.

“We must all contribute to ‘fostering a shared future’, and I hope and pray that after the APEC Summit and subsequent Asean and related summits, we will have made strong progress in doing so,” he said.