Malaysia continues to pursue an independent, principled and pragmatic foreign policy founded on the values of peace, justice and equality.
This new policy framework should enable Malaysia to be a middle smart power. We need to aspire to be a middle power with Malaysia assuming the chairmanship of Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in a few months’ time and hosting the 2020 Apec summit in November next year.
More importantly, Wisma Putra should engage actively with civil society, think tanks, universities and youth groups so that ordinary citizens can better understand our foreign policy and support it. With more public support, we should punch above our weight in international relations and multilateral forums like the United Nations.
Dr Mahathir’s attendance at the UN General Assembly and UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York this week will enable him and the Malaysian delegation to shine.
I would like to suggest that our foreign policy framework emphasize the 3Es – Economic Diplomacy, Ethical Diplomacy and Ecological diplomacy.
Malaysia’s foreign policy should also continue to place priorities on the 3As – Asean, Apec and Arab countries (the Mena countries of Middle East and Northern Africa). These are the main theatres for international contestation and we need to speak up clearly and loudly in these arenas.
Our foreign policy must continue to uphold multilateralism and a rules-based international order and we must never be shy to speak up for our core national interests.
TAN SRI MICHAEL YEOH
Kingsley Strategic Institute for Asia-Pacific