NEW YORK: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has back-to-back meetings with captains of industries and politicians when he is in town for the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Leading the Malaysian delegation at UNGA 2019, the Prime Minister’s diary is filled with high-level meetings with fellow leaders, events related to the parallel Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit and other high-profile engagements.
All eyes will be on him when he delivers Malaysia’s national statement at the General Debate of UNGA scheduled for Friday at the UN headquarters.
The theme for this year’s general debate, Galvanising Multilateral Efforts for Poverty Eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion, focuses on the continuing relevance of the UN system.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry noted that Dr Mahathir’s UNGA address will likely highlight current developments in the world and the importance of multilateralism, as well as the need for countries to work together in addressing common challenges.
Dr Mahathir is also expected to outline Malaysia’s commitment to working with other UN member states in achieving objectives under the theme of the 74th General Debate and beyond.
He may also underscore Malaysia’s expectations of the UN as the principal international organisation mandated to maintain international peace and security.
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said it was likely that Dr Mahathir would continue to highlight the need for UN reforms and respect for international institutions and rules.
“Although the international regulations are not perfect, we have no choice but to abide by them as we reform the international institutions and rules.
“This is because this concept of multilateralism is one that the Malaysian government has believed in and still does under the new administration,” he said in a briefing to the Malaysian media covering the 2019 UNGA on Monday.
Asked whether Dr Mahathir will raise the matter of Palestine, Saifuddin said: “I can’t pre-empt what the prime minister will speak about but you can assume that he may touch on certain issues that Malaysia is known for, like Palestine and the Rohingya.”
Today, the Prime Minister is scheduled to deliver Malaysia’s statement at the Leaders Dialogue 6: The 2020-2030 Vision during the High-Level Political Forum at SDG Summit.
Tomorrow, he is lined up to address the Environmental Stewardship in Addressing Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All event.
Malaysia is the main organiser of the event along with Turkey, Pakistan and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Soon after Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali’s arrival yesterday, the prime minister spoke at a high-level side event on The Rohingya Crisis-A Way Forward which Malaysia co-hosted with Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
Dr Mahathir’s other engagements in New York include participating in the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University and meeting with members of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He will also be attending a meeting with renowned entrepreneurs and potential investors from the United States.
Saifuddin said Dr Mahathir would also hold bilateral talks with a number of leaders, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Also accompanying the Prime Minister is Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali. — Bernama