KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 ― The government must make clear Malaysia’s position following the new military deal involving Australia, the US and the UK that would see the three foreign nations police the resource-rich South China Sea and the greater Asian region, Pakatan Harapan (PH) said today.

The Opposition coalition urged Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah to present a ministerial statement in Parliament to protect Malaysia’s best interests.

“Malaysia being at the geographical centre of these increasing geopolitical competitions must deliberate and state clearly a position.

“It is in the interest of Malaysia to make it clear that we would work with all sides but we would like the United States and China to lower the temperature in the South China Sea and the wider Asian region,” PH’s security committee said in a statement.

It said the trilateral military pact, dubbed AUKUS, is a major development in the region as it is backed with an A$90 billion (RM273.4 billion) nuclear power submarine and has raised geopolitical tension in Asia.

“A rapidly escalating situation is not going to be in the interest of any regional nations,” PH added.

Yesterday, the US, the UK and Australia announced their security partnership for the Indo-Pacific region amid China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ostensibly, the deal will see the US and the UK providing Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

The leaders of all three countries said Australia will not be fielding nuclear weapons but using nuclear propulsion systems for the vessels, to guard against future threats.