FORGING STRONGER MALAYSIA-U.S. TIES
THE 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the United States reflects the long-running mutual commitment to further cement the solid foundation of ties.
The recent visit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the US on the invitation of President Donald Trump will elevate the current state of warm relations to a higher level. Bilateral relations between the US and Malaysia certainly have improved over the past decade with back-to-back visits by former president Barack Obama to Malaysia.
The importance of this longstanding relationship with the world’s biggest superpower encompasses a wide range of areas, including commerce, trade, defence, security, education and science and technology.
We have been benefiting immensely from the superior technology and know-how of the Americans, strong economic and technological cooperation and mutual collaboration. The US is a crucial partner to us in continuing to boost our economic growth and stability.
The end of the Cold War brought about a seismic shift in global security, bringing with it new threats and challenges that are non-traditional in nature.
A close global cooperation and sharing of expertise and knowhow between the two countries will go a long way in ensuring a stable and manageable regional and global security.
The US can provide the muchneeded counterbalance against the growing influence of China, as well as act as a partner in counterterrorism in the region. With security threats and challenges coming in various forms and from different sources, there is no better time than now to seize the day to work together in providing a mutually beneficial partnership.
With growing tension over North Korea and the potential catastrophic ripples and instability that it will create, as well as the unresolved Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, there is an urgent need to push for a careful and delicate strategy in striving for regional stability and security.
Actions and steps taken to address these crises are not to be directed from a single source or a superpower alone. It requires the right support, understanding, input and actions of all regional actors and players. If mismanaged, these crises will result in a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe.
This is where the presence and support of the US in extending the hand of friendship will be a huge booster. Malaysia has taken the leadership in the past in working with American counterparts and is doing so now through the prime minister’s visit to the US.
We have been at the forefront of extending a helping hand to mediate and to lend our support in providing peaceful solutions to regional conflicts.
This proven track record can be used to push for a moderate and peaceful solution to conflicts in the region and trouble spots elsewhere.
The prospect of the region being the next driver of global political and economic arenas will surely invite greater scrutiny and interest from outside players, but through the principle of moderation, Malaysia and the US can bring about a peaceful solution to conflicts and, at the same time, preserve regional peace.
It is time Malaysia used our exceptional legacy of being a moderate and tolerant nation as a positive example for all to emulate.
We should extend the reach of moderation to the global arena, starting with the forging of closer and enhanced ties with our old friends in the Americans and to leverage on their support to continue to push for voices of tolerance and peaceful coexistence and the spirit of humanity and compassion.