The threat of unilateral actions by rich nations

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA yesterday warned that unilateral actions by powerful nations are creating chaos around the globe and shattering the endeared multilateralism concept in ensuring global order.

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said multilateralism is under threat as powerful nations’ unilateral imposition of their will on others has become an extremely concerning development.

“We also see countries flagrantly violate international agreements and United Nations (UN) resolutions. The developments in Palestine and JammuKashmir are some of the examples.

“Similar trends can be observed on the trade and economic fronts. Powerful countries are imposing unilateral sanctions, not respecting trade agreements and blatantly disregarding multilateral framework. These sanctions affect not only the particular country singled out but other countries. There is no equity here.

“The rich and the powerful will take what they wish but the poor and weak will yield what they must. Malaysia will submit what it must but it will be under open protest,” Dr Mahathir said after unveiling New Malaysia’s Foreign Policy in Putrajaya yesterday.

Dr Mahathir, who has been a staunch critic of Western injustices, said Malaysia will not stop criticising any country that commits crimes against humanity.

The PM said despite the country wanting to maintain friendly relations with all countries, Malaysia will not hesitate to object and express its opinion against injustices and oppression committed against others.

“We are a weak country, we realise that. But sometimes powerful countries take action unilaterally. We will protest. But whether it is effective, we don’t know. Powerful countries often break laws that they formulated,” Dr Mahathir said.

He said the foreign policy framework has captured the essence of the current administration.

“More importantly, it has also captured the salient issues that I raised in my speech at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly last year,” he said.

Malaysia’s foreign policy continues to reflect a tone against oppressions and injustices against weak nations.

Dr Mahathir had been heavily criticised by the West for his constant criticism against the Zionist regime of Israel.

But Malaysia — during his first term as the PM — had garnered respect from smaller nations especially from the Middle East and Africa.

Since his return to lead the country, Malaysia took on a more assertive role in international affairs including renegotiating terms with China over the Belt and Road projects.

Dr Mahathir has also been blunt in his comments about the country’s battle with the European Union over the latter’s plan to phase out the use of palm oil in its biofuels, and Malaysia’s decades-long squabble over water supply and territories with neighbouring Singapore.

While Malaysia is seen to be pushing aggressively in some areas of national concern, the country has also called for greater unity among countries in the east — particularly among Asean countries on common longstanding issues such as the South China Sea.

Marking his return to the UN after 15 years a year ago, Dr Mahathir touched on various issues including how terrorism could be stopped if the international community recognised the state of Palestine.

Dr Mahathir had also condemned Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi for the massacres of the Rohingya.