Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim underlined the importance of the Arab and Islamic role led by Saudi Arabia to stop the ongoing war between the Israeli army and Palestinian factions.
Ibrahim called for mobilizing Islamic, Arab, regional and international efforts to facilitate the passage of humanitarian aid to Gaza. He pointed to his country’s firm position on the Palestinian issue and denounced Western duplicity by supporting the Israelis and disregarding the violations of civilians’ rights in the enclave.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the ASEAN-GCC summit, which convened in Riyadh on Friday, the Malaysian premier said: “We took a very strong position together, with our brothers, friends, allies, and neighbors. We believe that we must all work together to stop this madness of the continued killing practiced by Israel in Palestine, specifically in the Gaza Strip, and which affects the lives of innocent people in hospitals and public places. This heinous act must end,” the minister stated.
“The international community must do everything in its power to guarantee peace. And I mean peace for all (...) but Gaza is now under siege, and people are struggling to live, there is no water, no electricity, no food and no medicine. The situation is truly tragic,” he added.
Arab Islamic efforts led by Saudi Arabia
Ibrahim pointed to coordinated security and cooperation conferences regarding the Arab Peace Initiative led by Saudi Arabia, where he said the foreign ministers presented clear views on humanitarian aid and the implementation of a ceasefire, placing the responsibility for stopping the war on the international community.
According to Ibrahim, Western countries, especially the United States, are ignoring the importance of achieving peace in the region, indicating that instead they are provoking countries to intervene, and this is something - in his opinion - dangerous and “may contribute to expanding that battle to other countries.”
The outcome of the summit
The Malaysian prime minister placed high hopes on the results of the ASEAN-GCC summit to enhance economic cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“We explored this new economic rebirth, and worked together to promote long-term business investments,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Prospects of partnership with Saudi Arabia
Asked about the Saudi-Malaysian relations, and the areas for future cooperation, Ibrahim emphasized the historic and traditional ties between his country and Saudi Arabia, noting that many Malaysian companies were currently participating in some major projects in Riyadh and NEOM and in different fields.
“The Kingdom, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has now moved up development investments in an amazing way. So Malaysia, as you know, needs to maintain this bilateral cooperation,” he said.
He also expressed his country’s willingness to sign new partnerships with the Kingdom in different fields, including green technology.
Malaysia and the upcoming reform
When asked about his country’s internal situation, the Malaysian Prime Minister said: “Our country is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. For this reason, our national philosophy promotes a civil concept that takes into account all of this, which means that we will push work economically to the top.”
He added: “We will work to attract investments, and we will focus on education, research and new technology, including artificial intelligence, which I think the Saudis have done relatively well, but we will also focus on the issue of ethics and values of humanity.”