Pejuang questions why defence minister seeking China’s views over Aukus deal

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein speaks at a media conference at Wisma Pertahanan in Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2021. — Bernama pic
Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein speaks at a media conference at Wisma Pertahanan in Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) today sought clarification from Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein regarding his response to Pakatan Harapan’s security committee that he would seek China’s views on the new trilateral security pact comprising the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Australia (Aukus).

“We would like to remind the defence minister that in April this year when he held the post of a foreign minister, he used the term ‘Big Brother’ to illustrate Malaysia’srelationship with China.

“If that is true, as the Malaysian government and the defence minister denied that Malaysia is taking orders from the Chinese state, then the minister does not have to meet them in Beijing simply to get a view on the Aukus,” Pejuang international affairs bureau chief Tariq Ismail Mustafa said in a statement this morning. 

He added that Malaysia’s stance on the South China Sea should be emphasised when the prime minister gives his speech during the UN General Assembly.

“In fact, the issue of the South China Sea should have the consensus of the Asean members and not unilaterally by Malaysia through direct discussions, ignoring other Asean members.

“South-east Asia and Asean have so far agreed on the assumption that the South China Sea is a common heritage that should be maintained and administered jointly.  

“But this happened before a new wave of neo-colonialism arrived in which the great powers tried to influence Asian countries one by one in order to safeguard their respective political and economic interests,” Tariq said.

He also stressed that it is not appropriate for Malaysia to fail to set its stand, or bow to the will of the great powers simply because it is a small country.

“Global leadership in this context must come from small countries united and unanimously rejecting foreign intervention in our waters,” he said. 

Tariq also made recommendations including for the defence minister, foreign minister and the Malaysian leadership to strengthen Asean Plus both politically and economically. 

The recommendations, among others are — the regulation of the Sea South China must be strictly enforced by Asean members with exceptions only after mutual agreement by Asean members — to ban any one country from acting alone in the spirit of “Freedom of Navigation” and its operation, by creating a seemingly equal mechanism of “caring for all”. 

“The state balances the interests of the law established in the norms of international law as reflected in the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea. 

“In addition, even nuclear-powered military ships may be allowed to pass South China Sea (subject to agreement, prohibitions based on custom international law), military training involving powered ships and nuclear weapons should be banned altogether in the waters of the South China Sea including those in unbiased waters. 

“Malaysia and Asean must formulate a security framework together with members of Asean Plus, including the EU, China, Russia and India to preserve the sovereignty of South-east Asia in particular and the Indo-Pacific region, in general, to offset aggression from any party,” he said. 

On Saturday, Hishammuddin, when refuting allegations from the Opposition that Malaysia was ’receiving instructions’ from China, said it was not wrong for Malaysia to find out China’s views and its possible response over the matter.

The Sembrong MP explained that having good ties with China did not mean that Malaysia would compromise in terms of its sovereignty.

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