PHNOM PENH, Feb 24 — Malaysia has always regarded Myanmar as a neighbouring country and a valued member of Asean, and would like to see the country bounce back and return to a normal situation in accordance with the Asean Five-Point Consensus (5PC), said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Ismail Sabri said Malaysia also wished to see Myanmar progress for the good of its people so that the country would be in a state of peace, harmony and prosperity.
“The Asean 5PC is very important. This is our common direction in dealing with the situation in Myanmar. All parties should work together to implement the Asean 5PC effectively and comprehensively.
“Nevertheless, the main responsibility in this matter lies with the government in Myanmar. They are also part of this Consensus,” he told a joint press conference with his Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techno Hun Sen after their four-eyed meeting at the Peace Palace here today.
“I also underlined the importance of seeing positive developments in the Rohingya issue. I share with Prime Minister Hun Sen the challenges faced by the receiving states of refugees, including Malaysia, due to the influx of Rohingya and other refugees from Myanmar,” said the prime minister.
According to Ismail Sabri, Malaysia will continue to support Cambodia’s efforts as Asean Chair, as well as the Special Envoy of the Asean Chair on Myanmar, in dealing with the situation in Myanmar effectively.
He said Hun Sen understood the challenges and constraints faced by Malaysia in temporarily housing the refugees.
“In this case, the repatriation of these refugees to Myanmar in a safe and dignified manner must be implemented,” he said.
On his discussion with Hun Sen about the South China Sea issues, Ismail Sabri said Malaysia is of the opinion that the South China Sea should remain a peaceful and stable area, as well as safe for trade activities.
“Any issue that arises must be dealt with rationally, peacefully and constructively, in accordance with the principles of universally recognised international law, including the Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) 1982,” he said.
Apart from that, Ismail Sabri said he and his Cambodian counterpart also agreed that the exchange of visits at the top and all other levels should be enhanced to further strengthen the existing close ties, mutual understanding and appreciation between the two countries.
“The exchange of visits will open up more opportunities in the growth of multi-dimensional cooperation such as in human resource development, infrastructure, trade and investment, tourism, education and others,” he said.
The prime minister said Malaysia is also keen to continue working with Cambodia in supporting the youth development efforts in both countries, especially in entrepreneurship.
In fact, he said there was already a memorandum of understanding inked between MRANTI (Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation) (formerly known as MaGIC) and Impact Hub Phnom Penh for that purpose.
On Cambodia as Asean Chair for 2022, Ismail Sabri said Malaysia will continue giving full support and cooperation to Cambodia.
“I am confident that Cambodia will perform excellently as Asean Chair this year. We (Asean) expect to face various challenges in 2022, including problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other complex regional issues. Asean unity and centrality are of paramount importance.
“It is also important to maintain Asean credibility. Malaysia will continue collaborating with Cambodia in maintaining peace, stability and harmony in this region,” he added. — Bernama