Malaysia will lead the Asean Chair 2025 with Madani principles, according to PM Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR – As Malaysia prepares for the Asean Chairmanship in 2025 it will strive to lead the region with moral character as emphasized in the Malaysia Madani principles, according to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Prime Minister stated that this is a civil, inclusive and interconnected approach.

Anwar stated that by upholding Malaysia’s principles of non-alignment, and cooperation, Madani ideals show that it is possible for one to be respectful while also being an active participant in shaping South-East Asia.

In fact, Asean is more than just a pillar in our foreign policy. It’s also a multiplier of force and an asset for us to use our agency, he said during his keynote speech at the 37th Asia-Pacific Roundtable here on Thursday (6 June).

Anwar emphasized that the regional bloc must also start to address the underutilisation its mechanisms. These include the Asean Regional Forums, Asean Plus Meetings and the East Asia Summit. In the past these meetings were celebrated for their convening power, but they now seem to be plodding along just by existence.

The Prime Minister stated that the future of Asean should be built on its member countries, their national interest, and what they can achieve collectively.

In these times of uncertainty, it’s imperative that we redouble efforts to further strengthen Asean to become the main platform for managing regional affairs,” said he, adding that regional blocs need to move beyond mere rhetoric and take concrete actions to achieve their aspirations.

Anwar stated that Malaysia would work with other Asean members states and Dialogue Partners, who have influence over Myanmar, to promote peace, better humanitarian mechanisms, and eventually the political engagement of all stakeholders in Myanmar.

Asean will only be able to facilitate efforts if the Myanmar parties are willing. This does not mean we shouldn’t try more innovative, multi-faceted approaches. The status quo does not remain static.

He noted that there is a beginning of difficult and long discussions amongst the different stakeholders of Myanmar about the future of the country, including the possibility of a system similar to a federation.

He said that while it was not his place to decide what the best thing for the people in Myanmar would be, he felt it incumbent upon us as friends and neighbours, to do what we could to facilitate.

Anwar also stressed that Malaysia has consistently called for a stop to the violence against the people in Myanmar and their history of political marginalisation, as well the adhering to the Five-Point Consensus which was reached jointly in Jakarta in April 2021.

In terms of foreign policy, he stressed that Malaysia was fiercely independent. He said the country would not be defined by what major powers think about the world, and it will continue to pursue its national and strategic goals, as defined in its own terms.

“Malaysia maintains strong and fruitful relationships with China and the United States.

He said: “Malaysia will also continue to pursue meaningful and productive relations with other partners, whether they are our long-standing strategic and comprehensive partners or friends from the Global South.”

Anwar said Malaysia had a proud past of being a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) during the Cold War. He added that by remaining loyal to the principle non-alignment this country has proved that the pursuit dynamic neutrality was not only possible but also highly desirable.

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