National sovereignty 'now more relevant'


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 22 May 2003

BY SIM LEOI LEOI

BANGI: Developing countries must not buy into the West’s suggestion that the principle of non-intervention and national sovereignty is “no longer relevant” at this time and age. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the rational for such an argument was that in the era of globalisation and interdependence, borders and territorial control had no more meaning because trade and investment by multinationals had now gone international. 

“This suggestion is forwarded by the West, but is easily accepted as the truth by academicians, media and NGOs who now voice similar opinions on the matter without first analysing this in depth. This is because the West has long been regarded as progressive and sophisticated. 

“Yes, the world has changed, but this does not mean that the principle above has no more meaning.  

“In fact, in face of globalisation, it is even more important that developing countries do their utmost to safeguard their sovereignty and be wary of any attempt by outside forces to intervene in their domestic affairs,” he said in his speech at the closing of the “Upholding the Integrity and Sovereignty of the Country: Tackling Regional and International Agenda” seminar at the EPF Social Security Training Institute here yesterday. 

The seminar, which was organised by the Association of Umno Foreign Club Alumni, was partly sponsored by The Star

Sovereignty, added Abdullah, was more important to developing countries as their influence in world affairs continued to be threatened. 

“And they face the risk of losing their ability to decide their own fate. These problems are not faced by the developed countries as they are more powerful and influence,” he said, citing for example the United States, which had now assumed the role of the world’s only superpower. 

For Malaysia, said Abdullah, the strategy to safeguard its sovereignty was to participate in the globalisation process and reap benefits from it. 

“Malaysians must be independent, have a sense of self-worth and be resistant psychologically to being oppressed in a subtle way. Sovereignty also means a mind that is not a slave to whatever opinions expressed by the West,” he pointed out. 

Joining regional groups such as Asean, Organisation of Islamic Countries and Non-Aligned Movement, said Abdullah, remained an important method by which Malaysia could protect and advance its own sovereignty and interests. 

“The challenge for the southeast region is now to revive the integrity of Asean and to enhance cooperation among its members. Asean members must also not let themselves be dragged into polemic issues, which can further divide us,” he said, adding that all regional groups, even the EU, had faced problems at one time or another. 

Abdullah also said Malaysia must encourage NGOs and the world public to exert moral pressure on powerful countries. 

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