PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged the people to not punish him by branding him as pro-Israel over the decision to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week 2023 in the United States (US).
This is despite calls for Malaysia to boycott the summit because of the ongoing situation in Gaza.
Anwar said that the decision was made based on considerations to maintain diplomatic relations and peace even though the government’s stance is unwavering in defending justice and supporting Palestine.
“We do not agree with the US’ position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, but it is our priority to maintain diplomatic relations, while not budging from our position on championing justice,” he said while addressing the Finance Ministry staff in Putrajaya this morning (Nov 7).
Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, noted that the conference will also be attended by Asian countries and APEC member states at the invitation of US President Joe Biden.
“Of course, this decision may not please some parties. Do not judge me for being pro-Israel for attending APEC because as the prime minister, I also must take care of the interests of this country, on matters of security, economy and convenience.
“Malaysia’s priority for Palestine is to help bring peace and humanitarian aid to support the lives of the people of that country who are suffering,” Anwar added.
Anwar previously stated that Malaysia would attend the APEC meeting based on the decision of its regional partners.
Yesterday (Nov 6), Anwar said he was coordinating with several countries although they had stated their intention to attend the meeting, to be held in San Francisco from Nov 11 to 17.
APEC is an inter-governmental forum for 21 members economies in the Pacific Rim that promotes free trade throughout the Asia Pacific region.
APEC was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia Pacific economies and the emergence of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world, with the goal of establishing new markets for agricultural products and raw materials outside of Europe.
APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, US and Vietnam. – Nov 7, 2023
Main pic credit: The Straits Times