PUTRAJAYA, Sept 18 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today launched the Foreign Policy Framework of the New Malaysia and said it will serve as a guide for the country in conducting its foreign policy in a rapidly changing and challenging world.
He said the basic elements of the foreign policy remain unchanged and the difference now is the way Malaysia will approach certain issues affecting its interests under the three approaches outlined by the framework.
“Hence, the overarching theme of this Framework is ‘Change in Continuity’. This will be the direction of the implementation of our foreign policy.
“We are living in a world where changes take place at a rapid pace. These changes bring both challenges and opportunities. It is, therefore, only logical that Malaysia does not stick to the traditional methods of engagements and instead proactively seeks to explore new approaches,” he said when launching the framework, here.
Also present at the launch were Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah; Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Azmin Ali; Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Xavier Jayakumar; Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok; Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya; Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.
Describing the framework as a living document, the prime minister said he is confident the 80-page framework will also become a valuable source of reference not just for Malaysian diplomats but to all parties interested in Malaysia’s foreign policy.
“This framework, to my mind, has captured the essence of the foreign policy direction of the current administration.
“More importantly, it has also captured the salient issues that I raised in my speech at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly last year,” he said.
Dr Mahathir gave the assurance that Malaysia will continue to pursue an independent, principled and pragmatic foreign policy, founded on the values of peace, humanity, justice and equality.
He said Malaysia also believes in maintaining friendly relations with all countries and peaceful resolution of disputes based on international law and norms.
“Despite that, Malaysia reserves the right to express its opinion and, if necessary, its protestations, against injustices, oppressions and other crimes against humanity that is committed by any nation.
“Malaysia had never shied away from what it believes to be a responsibility and commitment to mankind,” he said.
The framework will guide Malaysia in the conduct of its foreign policy through active participation in discussions at various international fora where Malaysia is already a member and to influence decision-making processes at various international fora where Malaysia is not a member, as well as to shape the discourse on emerging issues such as Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) and the blue economy.
“The challenges are huge and the stakes are high. Malaysia will nevertheless remain steadfast in pursuing its foreign policy goals based on the principles of justice and fairness. I am optimistic that we will be able to achieve these goals,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also that while the realm of foreign policy is in the international sphere, it cannot be detached from the domestic realities.
“Simply put, foreign policy begins at home. In this regard, foreign policy cannot be effective if it contradicts the expectations and realities of the domestic environment.
“Therefore, I need to stress the importance of inter-agency cooperation in implementing policies formulated by the government,” he said.
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