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MH17, SDG, palm oil among Malaysia's focus at 12th ASEM Summit

Last update: 17/10/2018

From Azizul Ahmad

BRUSSELS, Oct 17 (Bernama) -- Malaysia remains resolute in seeking justice for the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was shot down in 2014, at the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit which begins here Thursday, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said the Malaysian delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, will get the latest findings and update from the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that is investigating the disaster.

Saifuddin said Dr Wan Azizah is slated to have a meeting with Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, on Friday.

"We can expect the Prime Minister of the Netherlands to update our Deputy Prime Minister on the latest findings of the JIT and their standpoint on the involvement of Russia," he said to Bernama and RTM at a curtain-raiser programme here Wednesday.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine on that fateful day of July 17, 2014. All 298 people on board were killed.

"Malaysia's standpoint is very clear. We are not in the business of making accusations. We will wait for the conclusion of the JIT investigation before taking any stand. We, of course, want a quick closure (to the tragic incident)," he said.

Saifuddin said achievement of the United Nation’s Global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which relates domestically to the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan, as well as defending the palm oil industry are among subjects that will be Malaysia's focus at the summit.

"With the commitment of the new government, we can defuse the human rights critics and continue rebutting the scientific and environmental critics on palm oil. Contrary to some of the claims here, palm oil is a good product, safe and sustainable," he said.

Saifuddin said Dr Wan Azizah will attend the full sessions of the summit, deliver a statement at the second plenary session, as well as have three bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.

This is her first visit to Europe since her appointment as Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister on May 21 after Pakatan Harapan took over power from Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election.

Besides the scheduled bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Dr Wan Azizah is also slated to hold bilateral meetings with the prime ministers of Ireland and Norway.

"This is the first official working visit to Europe by the high ranking minister of the New Malaysia. Representing a new government that is more comfortable discussing issues like democracy, freedom and human rights, our Deputy Prime Minister will showcase what the New Malaysia is all about,” said Saifuddin.

He said Dr Wan Azizah will also be a good ambassador for Muslim countries.

"We understand the seriousness of Islamophobia in Europe. As Malaysia is a leading emerging Muslim democracy in the world, our Deputy Prime Minister is in a very good position to represent the role of progressing Muslims who embrace democracy to the full and will be a good ambassador for the Muslim countries as well as the Asian region," he said.

The ASEM Summit, on Oct 18 and 19, will bring together the heads of state or government of 51 European and Asian countries, representatives of the European Union (EU) and the Secretary-General of ASEAN.



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