KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 ― Malaysia has reiterated its concern over the Ukraine-Russia conflict and strongly urged all parties involved to immediately de-escalate hostilities, said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

In his keynote address at the Putrajaya Forum 2022, he said Malaysia would also continue to support all efforts in the interest of maintaining regional and international peace and security.

“We also urge the United Nations Security Council to conduct its primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security. It can be done,” he said.

Putrajaya Forum 2022 was held on the sidelines of the Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition and National Security Conference Asia (Natsec) 2022 at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC), here today.

Touching on the South China Sea issue, Hishammuddin said Malaysia’s position on the South China Sea is clear and consistent.

“Due to the complexity and sensitivity of the issue, through established international laws and conventions, all parties must work together to increase efforts to build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence so that we can maintain peace, security and stability in the South China Sea,” he said.

He pointed out that while the situation in Ukraine-Russia is not a fair comparison to the challenges in the South China Sea, there is a relation in the way Asean approaches the issue of rivalry between superpowers in a contested region.

Taking Asean as an example, Hishammuddin said it remains a crucial platform to settle all disputes through meaningful dialogues and negotiations while Asean has continuously sought to strike a balance, to bring together both East and West in navigating the complex dynamics and relations in the region.

He noted that the Asean Defence Ministerial Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM Plus are important platforms for the defence ministers in the region to engage, discuss and deliberate issues of mutual interests.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said all parties need to balance the attention to traditional and non-traditional threats delicately, moving forward, compared to the last 20 years where the focus had been on non-traditional threats, namely counter-terrorism and extremism.

“Neglecting one of them may invite tragedy, especially non-traditional threats that tend to catch us by surprise. It is therefore vital for us all to continue working cooperatively, explore all possible practical solutions, and respond swiftly to any issues that may emerge,” he added.

With the theme ‘Shared Regional Responsibility’, the Putrajaya forum is an informal platform for government officials, policymakers, security experts, defence and security practitioners, think tanks as well as academicians to promote a better understanding of current regional defence and security issues. ― Bernama