Ramasamy: Lots of talks, Middle East visits but where’s PMX’s peace formula for the Palestinians?

I CAN understand why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX) makes frequent visits to Arab countries to meet up with political representatives of the Hamas movement and others.

Such meetings enable Anwar to enhance his political credentials in supporting the demand for the settlement of the long-drawn-out Palestinian issue.

Nevertheless, his meetings with the Hamas representatives might pose a diplomatic problem because Hamas has been declared as a terrorist organisation by the US.

However, Anwar has defended his relationship on the basis of his links with the political organisation as opposed to the Hamas military organisation.

Whether this will convince the US remains to be seen. As it is, there are allegations that some Malaysian companies are engaged in transporting petroleum from Iran to be marketed to other countries because of the US ban on exports from Iran.

Anwar has denied this but I am not sure if the US is convinced. The recent visit by a US treasury anti-terrorism official underscore the claim of the transfer of petroleum from Iran through Malaysian companies.

Right peace solution

Coming back to the Palestinian issue, there is nothing wrong to have good relations with the Hamas leaders. The other Palestinian organisation, namely PLO (the Palestine Liberation Organization) lacks the legitimacy currently enjoyed by Hamas.

It is only Hamas that is in the forefront of resistance or war against the state of Israel. If at all there is political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, the role of Hamas has to be factored in.

There can be no political settlement of the Palestinian problem without Hamas. Hamas might be condemned as terrorist organisation but the fact remains that is the only effective representative of the Palestinian people.

In this respect, it is important for Anwar to have ties with the political outfit of the Hamas.

While Anwar seems to enjoy his frequent trips to the Middle-East calling for the de-escalation of conflict in the Palestinian territory, he seems clueless on what should be the kind of political settlement that is best for the Palestinian people.

To date, he has not commented on the proposed two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian quest for statehood.

Frequent meetings with Arab leaders and those in Hamas definitely improve Malaysia’s profile as defender of the inalienable rights of the Palestinians.

Anwar knows that there is no consensus among Arab countries as what should be the political solution for the future of the Palestinian people.

Going against the US?

While rubbing shoulders with Arab leaders is important, it is far more important to diplomatically engage the super-powers such as the US, Russia and China for eventual solution for the Palestinian problem.

Anwar knows very well that the US holds the key to the political solution of the Palestinians. But unfortunately, he is reluctant to engage the US or because his views are not appreciated in Washington.

Anwar can only do so much to enhance his domestic profile by engagement with the Palestinian issue but if Malaysia uncritically swings to the official position of the Arab countries, then the country might not have a meaningful input to influence the course of events for the resolution of the Palestinian problem.

Maybe, Anwar should show his prowess as a top-notch diplomat and peace maker by resolving the long festering problem between the Thai government and the Malay Muslims in the four problems of Southern Thailand.

Despite Malaysia’s role as the mediator, nothing worthwhile has emerged since Anwar assumed office as the Malaysia’s 10th PM. Low key conflicts are evident in the provinces.

The peace process led by leaders beholden to the Malaysian government is simply not working. My recent visit to the provinces indicates a growing gulf between the Malay Muslims and their leaders.

Shouldn’t Anwar do something to bring a speedy settlement to the conflict which is closer to home yet has lasted more than 70 years? – May 15, 2024


Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the Urimai (United Rights of Malaysian Party) Interim Council.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE