Foreign minister: Special advisor Ahmad Azam to help facilitate Malaysia’s humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a virtual press conference from Putrajaya, September 1, 2021. — Bernama pic
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a virtual press conference from Putrajaya, September 1, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — Commissioner to the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Datuk Ahmad Azam Ab Rahman has been appointed as Foreign Minister’s special advisor on Afghanistan.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said with his extensive network with non-profit organisations (NGO) and Muslim leaders worldwide, Ahmad Azam will be able help in facilitating Malaysian NGOs’ humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Saifuddin said Ahmad Azam, who is also chairman of Global Peace Mission Malaysia (GPM), has vast experience on Afghanistan that is valuable in providing crucial first-hand information on the ground to him and the ministry.

“He also helps Wisma Putra to facilitate humanitarian efforts by Malaysian NGOs. This is very important so that we have the proper understanding on the latest developments. Definitely Wisma Putra will be utilising many sources, but his experience and networking will help us to obtain additional important information.

“Looking at the prevailing uncertainties, it is crucial for us to keep in contact with reliable sources that we choose and look for. This is where Datuk Ahmad Azam can help,” he said.

Saifuddin announced the appointment at the KL Conference on Afghanistan: Re Emergence of a Nation, held virtually on Sunday. The event was jointly organised by GPM and Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM).

The foreign minister said Malaysia will continue to monitor the political developments in Afghanistan closely and build on its own understanding to help in reconstructing the war-torn country.

He said Malaysia should not fall into the trap of Western narratives on the situation in Afghanistan.

“We need to have our own understanding of what is happening in Afghanistan today, what happened in the past and how do we move forward,” he said.

The Malaysian government has also repeatedly stated that peace negotiation, reconstruction and rebuilding of Afghanistan should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Aghan-controlled.

“I believe it is the Afghanistan people who know best what needs to be done, they know better their history, their problems and challenges. The new reality they face and the way forward.

“While we in Malaysia, the ummah and the peace-loving citizens of the world must show our support and solidarity and try our level best to give whatever assistance possible to the Afghan people,” he said.

Saifuddin said that although Malaysia has yet to recognise the new Kabul government, it is committed to assist Afghanistan in humanitarian aid as well as to reconstruct and rebuild the country.

“We are committed to continue rendering our assistance, especially humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan,” he said.

He said Malaysia also continues to work with the United Nations (UN) and the OIC, and non-profit organisations such as Mercy Malaysia and GPM to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

He said Malaysia had so far pledged US$100,000 to the UN for that purpose.

Saifuddin also encouraged Malaysian businesses to look for opportunities in Afghanistan, adding he was made to understand that currently two Malaysian companies have been invited to do some early repairs and maintenance there.

He added that prior to this, Malaysia had also helped in capacity building of the Afghan people through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP), where 617 government officials have been trained since 2002 in various disciplines such as administration, taxation and finance.

At the conference today, GPM’s Tabung #PeduliAfghanistan was launched with the aim of collecting RM1 million in funds to provide food, shelter, sanitation and hygiene kits to Afghan refugees. — Bernama

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