PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — The Foreign Affairs Ministry will focus on improving several policies, such as pertaining to human rights, freedom, the environment and sustainable development, said the new Foreign Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said the government had pledged to sign six more international human rights conventions and achieve the global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Saifuddin, who was sworn in today, said that as Asean policies remained the priority, the ministry would also continue to enhance bilateral ties in the region.
“We will continue with our foreign policies and continue our bilateral ties with all countries.
“Neutrality policies will be continued and we are also looking at several improvements in the area of human rights and SDGs,” he told reporters after attending a briefing session with ministry officials here.
On human rights, Saifuddin said Malaysia had, to date, acceded to three of the nine core human rights treaties, namely the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw), and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
“We aspire to sign the remaining human rights conventions. There are nine and we have only ratified three. It’s in our manifesto,” he added.
The six others are the International Convention Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Meanwhile, on the higher price for the Indian visa, Saifuddin said his ministry would look into this matter urgently.
“I believe my officers are already discussing this issue and we will look into this matter in depth,” he said.
Asked about the bilateral ties with North Korea and the reopening of the Malaysian embassy in Pyongyang, Saifuddin said: “We will take up the matter later”.
Malaysia’s diplomatic relations with North Korea soured in 2017 after the high-profile assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the KL International Airport. — Bernama