PM Muhyiddin urges Asean members to push back ‘hate and divide’

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
·2-min read
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (centre) having discussion with Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali before the 37th Asean Summit and Related Summits November 15, 2020. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (centre) having discussion with Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali before the 37th Asean Summit and Related Summits November 15, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called on the South-east Asian nations to address the rise of “hate and divide” politics in the region, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today.

Muhyiddin told the 37th Asean summit, held virtually, that Putrajaya saw the need to address divisive ideologies, likely a reference to the growing popularity of nativist views after many countries saw far right governments elected into power.

Hishammuddin said this included Islamophobia and deepening communal strife.

“Malaysia was the only nation that drew attention to the emerging landscape of hate and divide, especially on issues concerning religion like Islamophobia,” the foreign minister told a press conference held to conclude the summit.

“The prime minister reminded them that there is an urgent need to address it.”

The message coincided with Putrajaya’s call for genuine efforts to identify and tackle the root cause of terrorism.

Speaking in the presence of world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Muhyiddin said there was an urgent need to expand efforts to flatten the curve of terrorism.

He called the move crucial at a time when nations are battling a ravaging pandemic, saying restoring peace and stability to the world is paramount.

Malaysia is currently leading Asean’s socio-economic recovery plan against the Covid-19 fallout, at the moment showing no signs of abating with a fresh wave of infections that have forced governments to go into a lockdown again.

All 10 Asean members have agreed to adopt the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Plan with Putrajaya leading coordination efforts, Hishammuddin said.

Asean government representatives signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) earlier today to conclude a four-day virtual summit.

The free-trade deal effectively made South-east Asia the world’s biggest economic bloc.

Geopolitical strategists said the RCEP, which involves all of Asian’s economic powerhouses and excludes the United States, is set to enhance China’s regional dominance.

Muhyiddin called the pact an important instrument for economic recovery that will encourage the reopening of markets.

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