Ever since its establishment in the wake of World War II, the United Nations (UN) has ostensibly been trying to foster international peace and security, the promotion of human rights, and the provision of humanitarian aid, amongst its objectives. The replacement for the ineffective League of Nations now has a total of 193 members, including our very own nation which joined in 1957 and in 1963 (due to our unique historic circumstances).
Since that early point, Malaysia has played an active role within the organisation with respect to participation in almost all peace-keeping missions, as well as regular participation in the UN Security Council. The recent visit by the Deputy Prime Minister saw the country offering its views and suggestions towards addressing issues such as the refugee crisis and securing global peace.
However, as with almost everything, things are not as cozy in real life as it is in the statements made to the media. Malaysian ex-ambassador Dr Azhari Karim wrote an opinion piece citing Malaysia’s lacklustre attitude at the recent sitting, where he recommended that the nation needed to make more meaningful contributions to “strengthen our national brand in world diplomacy in the longer term”.
The real question, though, is whether Malaysia should even bother to continue the charade of being a member, considering that it often is seen to make great speeches that merely pay lip service to the international organisation’s ideals. For example, out of the nations competing for new openings on the UN’s Human Rights Council, it is noteworthy that Malaysia, China, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are deemed to be “unqualified” by the rights monitors.
This assessment by a United Nations correspondent, who covers diplomatic and defense issues, noted that Malaysia and Iraq are labelled as “flawed democracies” by the Economist, with their press facing a “difficult situation”, and the situation akin to having foxes guarding a chicken coop. In fact, the UN Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia has expressed “grave concern” about human rights violations as a consequence of the recent National Security Council (NSC) Act.
Malaysia is also one of 17 nations that blocked a recent plan to include the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender communities in a new urban strategy drawn up by the UN. This is not surprising, given the country’s — and the people’s — appalling attitude towards the LGBT community, never mind the rights of women and children.
Let’s not forget the favourite fallback bogeyman for the country, Israel: it, too, is a member nation – and it’s legitimacy as a country is emphasised by its inclusion in the UN membership. Our passports already state that it is the only nation not acknowledged by us for travelling purposes, never mind the slightly inconvenient fact that it is an active trading partner. If Malaysia and the other Islamic countries were truly serious in their opposition to Israel, shouldn’t they boycott the UN as well? After all, they and their people are willing to do without McDonald’s, Starbucks, and other multinational popular corporations that supposedly have Judaic ties.
It is reported that Malaysia contributed US$7.9 million (RM33.2 million) to the UN yearly budget in 2014. Not a lot, compared with what was recovered by the MACC in Sabah, certainly — but still a tidy sum that can keep a lot of schools afloat. Seeing as how our ministers have told us all to tighten our belts, perhaps we should channel the money to our local communities rather than to an overseas body.
Maybe it is best that we do what Indonesia did when we became a nation: quit the UN in protest. It doesn’t seem like it will make the slightest bit of difference, given the state of things back home. We can always join the UN again later, when we truly are a developed nation, with running water for all its citizens — particularly in east Malaysia.
Source : By Ahmad Azrai@The Heat Malaysia Online