PETALING JAYA: Other developing countries can play an important role in supporting fellow developing countries in Africa as part of peace-building efforts in the region, said Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
In an address at the United Nations Security Council open debate titled “Peacebuilding in Africa” in New York on Thursday, the Foreign Minister said Malaysia has always considered Africa its “close neighbour” despite the distance.
“Another important lesson we learnt was that developing countries require support and assistance. For many, the natural choice would be to seek out the big and the rich countries and donors.
“However, what may perhaps be overlooked is the role that other developing countries can play to support other fellow developing countries,” he said.
In this regard, Anifah said, Malaysia has as part of its foreign policy a commitment to the principle of “prosper thy neighbour”.
“Despite the inconvenience of distance, Malaysia very much considers Africa as a close neighbour,” he said.
Anifah said a sustainable peace-building agenda must place strong emphasis on institution building and national ownership.
And these two key principles are what have shaped Malaysia to what it is now.
“At one point in the not too distant past, many observers were certain that a country with a population as diverse as Malaysia could not hope to achieve coherence or unity, much less peace and stability which are prerequisites for socio-economic development and progress.
“However, instead of seeing diversity and plurality as potential security threats, the Government undertook concrete and sustained measures to ensure that all could enjoy a place at the table.
“Thus, we succeeded in turning the perceived disadvantage of our diversity and harnessing it into what it should be rightly taken for, which is a strength,” he said.
Malaysia’s engagement with Africa on institution building support in areas such as peace and security, trade, investment and holistic development has also been increasing steadily, Anifah added.
“I wish to also emphasise that Malaysia remains committed to Africa for the region for the long haul, with a view to contributing towards the region’s aspirations for peace, security economic development and prosperity,” he said.