‘Snubbing APEC a missed opportunity to be heard globally’

At Parliament last week, Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim if Malaysia was planning to boycott the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leader’s Week (Nov 11-17) hosted by the United States, as a show of solidarity towards the Palestinians.

The query was made due to the rampant and deliberate violations of international humanitarian law by the apartheid regime of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

To aggravate the humanitarian crisis taking place in Gaza and the West Bank, the US House of Representatives further passed an absurd Republican plan of providing US$14.5 billion in military aid to Israel.

In response, Anwar said he would ‘talk’ to other Asian leaders, especially China. Another narrative from the government is that we have a rather special relationship with the United States. So much so, that they are leveraging on Malaysia to issue a warning to Iran, with which they have no diplomatic ties, to keep to themselves and not meddle in the conflict taking place in Palestine.

This ‘favour’ is framed as an acknowledgement by the United States, but a lot of people mocked the ‘special relationship’ our government claims to have because everybody knows, that when it comes to foreign policy, they are the masters and we are the lapdogs, wagging our tails whenever they throw us a bone. Which is actually very rare than often.

Trade? Well, I spoke over lunch the other day with a senior executive responsible for the promotion of palm oil products outside of Malaysia about the benefits of our ‘special relationship’ with America. She snorted explosively, and big chunks of bread and guacamole shot out of her nose.

“Special relationship???” she cackled. “Are you so dumb?”

All that being said, should Anwar snub the leader’s meeting at APEC next week? Definitely not.

APEC’s original economic discussions will certainly be overshadowed by many talks regarding both ongoing conflicts (Palestine-Israel, and Russia-Ukraine). Anwar would need to be there when it happens. It is a platform for him to be heard and an opportunity for him to assert the public opinion of Malaysians.

I’m sure APEC leaders will talk about the usual boring subject of free trade. But with both wars looming in our backyard, APEC leaders will be compelled to discuss security issues and hopefully sign a declaration committing APEC economies to withhold support and assistance for terrorists and apartheid regimes with a blatant record of violating the Geneva Convention and the infringement of international humanitarian laws.

The point of an inter-governmental forum such as APEC, is to encourage the free flow of ideas and prompt discussions about major concerns from its member economies.

No one benefits from advocating a boycott that could silence their leader from voicing out their nation’s discontent on a global platform.

The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.

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