Malaysia to support Palestinian bid for statehood

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will support Palestine's bid for statehood when it re-submits its resolution to the United Nations (UN) Security Council after failing to get enough votes in a previous attempt.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin gave his assurance that Malaysia, which recently secured a seat in the Council, would vote in favour of Palestine's resolution to establish itself as a state.

"We are now waiting for the necessary process to take place. When the time comes, we will support the resolution.

"We have, are, and will always fight together with Palestine for their cause," he said in reply to Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar (PAS–Tumpat) when answering to points raised on his Ministry during the Supplementary Supply (2014) Bill 2015 debate.

Kamarudin had asked the Hamzah if the Ministry would play a more active role in initiating the process for Palestine to be a member of the UN.

In December last year, the UN Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on Palestine's bid for statehood after the move fell short of obtaining the nine votes necessary for adoption in the Council.

It was reported in January that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas had said he was discussing with Jordan on plans to re-submit the resolution.

On another matter, Hamzah dismissed claims by Kamarudin that Malaysia had failed in its handling of the MH370 and MH17 incidents.

"The search area for the missing MH370 aircraft covers a huge area of about 60,000km sq.

"If that is considered a failure, what about the Air France flight? The bodies from the plane were only found two years after the crash even though it involved a much smaller search area compared to the one for MH370," he said.

Hamzah also defended the Government over its handling of the MH17 incident, saying that Netherlands authorities had thanked the Malaysian team for speeding up the victim identification process.

On a suggestion by Anthony Loke (DAP–Seremban) for the Ministry to waive visas for Chinese tourists, he pointed out that this matter had to be "reciprocal" in nature.

"Malaysian tourists also need visas to go to China. This matter is still under discussion and if we want to waive the visa, we need to negotiate with China," Hamzah said.

On tourist numbers being affected by the MH370 incident, he said there has been an increase in Chinese tourist arrivals as the China nationals realise that the incident remains a mystery and efforts were still ongoing to locate the plane.

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