Wisma Putra: Malaysia adopts wisdom and best approach on Uyghurs’ issue

We are working on it and in some instances, the less said the better, says minister

by AZREEN HANI/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

THE government’s silence on the Uyghurs minority group’s treatment in China does not mean that nothing is being done about it, said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (picture).

He said Wisma Putra has different approaches when it comes to addressing certain issues like Palestine, Rohingya in Myanmar, and Jammu and Kashmir in India.

“If you look at these three issues, there are different ways in making our voices heard. We measure our work according to the needs, requirements and the context (of how it is addressed),” Saifuddin said during a media engagement session on Wisma Putra’s foreign policy framework in Putrajaya yesterday.

“We use our wisdom and negotiate in the best manner. It does not mean we are not working on it; we are and in some instances, the less said the better,” he added when asked about Malaysia’s alleged silence on the Uyghurs in China.

“Malaysia wants to uphold the principles of democracy, freedom and human rights whenever these issues are raised. But, we also have to be very strategic in the way we carry out our foreign policy works,” he explained.

Malaysia has been vocal on the mistreatment against the Rohingya and the blatant seizure of Palestine land, as well as the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad raised these issues during the United Nations (UN) General Assembly General Debate last week.

He also called for India and Pakistan to work together to resolve the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, highlighting that despite the UN resolution, both countries are still stuck in their on- going dispute.

Saifuddin further cited Malaysia’s engagement in the troubled regions of southern Thailand and the Philippines as examples of how things are addressed away from the public eyes.

“We did not say much about it, but that does not mean we are not working on it, we are and I think that is quite effective,” he explained.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the #BoycottMalaysia trending topic on social media platform, Twitter, Saifuddin said Wisma Putra is aware of it and would respond accordingly if needed. The #BoycottMalaysia trend sparked earlier this week due to the outrage by India’s netizens against Dr Mahathir’s remarks on the Jammu-Kashmir issue.

However, Saifuddin said so far there is no official reaction from the Indian government on Dr Mahathir’s speech.

On the persisting protest in Hong Kong, the minister said the government is monitoring the situation closely.

For the upcoming Budget 2020, Saifuddin hoped that the government would reinstate some allocations that the ministry used to have before, like the third language allowance.

“I hope we can have the allocations for the ministry’s officers to pursue postgraduate studies in local universities,” said Saifuddin.