UN objectives rely on a united nation.

THE Federation of Malaya became a member of the United Nations within three weeks of Merdeka, with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Rahman Tuanku Muhammad saying, “In the field of external affairs (we will be) on the most friendly terms with all countries in the world.”

External Affairs Ministry secretary-general Ghazali Shafie said, “Towards the maintenance of international peace and security, the federation government is pledged to uphold the Charter of (the) United Nations.”

The Alliance Party’s manifesto for the 1959 election stated the same.

The current government made a strong statement of support for the UN on its 73rd anniversary on Wed­nesday, saying it remains the best body to address global problems.

Echoing Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent speech at the UN General Assembly, the ministry’s deputy secretary-general expressed hope that the Security Council would be reformed, in particular so that the veto should be valid only if two permanent members and three non-permanent members agree, with an additional simple majority vote by the General Assembly.

Malaysia’s long relationship with the UN can be summarised with an array of acronyms. Locally, UNDP, UNFPA, Unicef, UNHCR, WHO, UNU and WFP have been active, and UNDSS, Unaids, Unido, Unesco, UN Women and OHCHR have agency heads here.

We are a member of Unctad, Uncitral, FAO, Icao, Ifad, ILO, IMO, ITU, UPU, Wipo, WMO and UNWTO. Many of these come under the UNDG and most of them are coordinated by Ecosoc (which a Malaysian headed in 2010).

Malaysia is also a member of the IMF and WBG, which are technically part of the UN system, as well as CTBTO Prep Com, OPCW, IAEA and WTO, which maintain strong relations with the UN.

Cyberjaya houses service centres of two UN agencies: the Global Service Centre of WHO since 2008 and the Global Shared Services Centre of UNDP since 2012.

Currently, Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif serves as UN Under-Secretary-General and executive director of the UN Human Settle­ments Programme. Other Malaysian women who have served in the UN include Tan Sri Rafiah Salim, who was Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, and Datuk Mazlan Othman, who was director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs.

Don’t confuse UNHCR with UNCHR (where Datuk Param Cumaraswamy served as a Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers from 1994 to 2003), which was replaced by UNHRC (UN Human Rights Council) in 2006, of which Malaysia was a member from 2006 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2013.

But Malaysia controversially failed to be re-elected in 2017. This body is supervised by OHCHR, where a Malaysian has served as a member of one of the Working Groups.

However, no Malaysian judge has yet sat in the UN-established ICJ nor the ICC (which is separate but cooperates with the UN) – we are not a signatory of the Rome Statute that established the latter. Nor are we a signatory to the Convention Relat­ing to the Status of Refugees, although the government has promised to ratify it and its 1967 Protocol.

The Malaysian Armed Forces have participated in 36 UN peacekeeping operations (each with its own acronym, of course) involving over 35,000 personnel since 1960. Currently, Malaysia is involved in six peacekeeping operations.

And at the highest levels of the UN System, Malaysia supplied the president of the General Assembly in 1996 through Tan Sri Razali Ismail, who later served as the UN secretary-general’s Special Envoy for Myanmar from 2000 to 2005.

Malaysians served as president of the Security Council seven times during the four periods when Malaysia was a non-permanent member: 1965, 1989-1990, 1999-2000 and 2015-2016.

The latest was Datuk’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was then deputy prime minister.

At the UN Day anniversary event this week, the United Nations Award was presented to Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, the MyKasih Foundation and the Ozone Unit of the Department of Environment for their contributions towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

In recognising activists, civil society as well as the government, the UN has signalled that its objectives are not limited to the efforts of governments alone, and I hope the government’s policies will show that it agrees wholeheartedly.

By Tunku Zain Al-’Abidin

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/abidinideas/2018/10/26/un-objectives-rely-on-a-united-nation-the-world-body-recognises-that-governments-alone-cant-achieve/#PFhbdGaAUTBjwFza.

Comments are closed.