MALAYSIA TO WORK WITH FOUR NATIONS
It will cooperate with Indonesia, Pakistan, Qatar and Turkey to counter terror threats
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.”