MALAYSIA TO WORK WITH FOUR NA­TIONS

It will co­op­er­ate with In­done­sia, Pak­istan, Qatar and Turkey to counter ter­ror threats

New Straits Times - - News -

LANGKAWI

MALAYSIA will work with In­done­sia, Pak­istan, Qatar and Turkey in a five-na­tion agree­ment of sorts to counter new and grow­ing threats, said De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein yes­ter­day.

Hisham­mud­din said he had met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the four other na­tions dur­ing the open­ing day of the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and Aerospace exhibition 2017, and all agreed on three as­pects which they could co­op­er­ate.

The first, he said, was to have a counter-nar­ra­tive to the ide­o­log­i­cal teach­ings of groups such as Is­lamic State (IS).

“There must be some sort of counter-nar­ra­tive, a story board of sorts that can ‘break’ such pro­pa­ganda (of mil­i­tant groups). If we five coun­tries can start with an an­nounce­ment in Malaysia, es­pe­cially with King Sal­man’s state visit to Malaysia re­cently and the ef­forts to bring about the King Salam Peace Cen­tre, it would be of sig­nif­i­cance. We can show the world that the IS ide­ol­ogy is not the true picture of Is­lam as a re­li­gion of mod­er­a­tion.”

Hisham­mud­din said this af­ter giv­ing the key­note ad­dress at the Chiefs of Navy Round­table Con­fer­ence at Re­sorts World Langkawi on the side­lines of Lima 2017.

He said the sec­ond as­pect the five na­tions agreed upon was in­ter­op­er­abil­ity of as­sets, some­thing which was needed in such un­cer­tain eco­nomic times.

“There are cer­tain skills we can make use of in Turkey, and in In­done­sia, they have ex­per­tise in ship­build­ing that the Royal Malaysian Navy needs, for in­stance, multi-role sup­port ships. (For ex­am­ple) re­cently, we made known that we were will­ing to have LMS (lit­toral mis­sion ships) built in China... this is a new ap­proach, a non-tra­di­tional part­ner­ship.

“Just imag­ine if we five na­tions were to take ad­van­tage of the ex­per­tise of each so that there is no wastage or over­lap in in­ter­op­er­abil­ity of as­sets.”

The third as­pect, said Hishamm­nud­din, was trans­for­ma­tion.

He de­clined to elab­o­rate on this ex­cept to say: “We are all fac­ing changes. For in­stance, oil prices have af­fected Qatar as well and they wanted to know how we are man­ag­ing that chal­lenge when it comes to de­fence. So, we are shar­ing that and a lot of other ar­eas.

“I will speak more on that (at a later time).”

Hisham­mud­din said a se­nior of­fi­cer-level meet­ing of the de­fence min­istries of the five na­tions would be held in Is­tan­bul next month to dis­cuss mat­ters fur­ther and a min­is­te­rial-level meet­ing would then be held at a later date in Doha.

He said the emir of Qatar would likely visit Malaysia some time this year.

“Then we can show the world that what we dis­cussed yes­ter­day (Tues­day) was not merely rhetoric or ‘on pa­per’... (we can show them that) we are se­ri­ous in fac­ing new threats.

“Maybe, we can’t get all coun­tries (of the world) to join us, but we can start small like in the Sulu Sea with In­done­sia and the Philip­pines (where the three na­tions are work­ing to­gether to stop kidnap-for-ran­som groups tied to the mil­i­tant Abu Sayyaf Group) and in the Straits of Malacca with In­done­sia, Sin­ga­pore and Thai­land (to stop pi­rates). Then in the end, such joint ef­forts will bear fruit.”

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