By Noorhabibah Bahrum
As a multiracial country, Malaysia is always emphasizing on the importance of peace, not just locally but also internationally. The peaceful message is not just regarding races in the country but also between other countries which have conflicts among each other.
For example, at the national level, the Prime Minister of Malaysia; Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad stressed that the government will ensure that no one can disturb the national harmony and peace (Bernama, 2018). At the international level, during 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he urged that Pakistan and India must find a peaceful solution regarding Jammu and Kashmir conflict (Yunus, Harun, & Yusof, 2019).
With peace, it will bring the harmony and tolerance not just to the nation but also to the world. Galtung (1996) did mention that negative situations can be described as civil wars, separatist conflicts, and conflicts of interest whereas positive conditions involve situations and atmospheres of peace and tranquility where all members of the community can live in harmony.
At the international level such as in the meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), United Nation (UN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and more Malaysia loudly criticizes the violence made by Islamic State (IS), the government of Myanmar towards Rohingyas, Israel towards Palestinians, terrorist attacks targeting congregations in two Christchurch mosques, bombing attacks around the world such as in Jakarta, and many others.
The UNGA, on 2nd April 2019, has adopted without a vote, a resolution entitled “Combating Terrorism and Other Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief”. Malaysia, alongside Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar and Turkey sponsored the resolution while another 36 Member States co-sponsored the resolution (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, 2019). This shows that Malaysia seriously wants to spread the message of peace to the world.
In order to spread peace to the world, Malaysia is not just voicing out but also taking actions through Malaysia’s role as intermediaries of peace negotiations between the government of Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as between government of Thailand and it’s Southern Regions.
Other than that, Malaysia also gives protection to refugees from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Syria and more. Malaysia is also participating in peace missions by sending our army to the turbulent countries such as Syria and Lebanon. The Minister of Defense, Mohamad Sabu said, the involvement of the army internationally demonstrates that Malaysia is committed to fulfilling the humanitarian aid the country needs to ensure that the aspirations for universal peace can be realized (Bernama, 2019).
Not only the government, but other private bodies and NGOs are also contributing to spread peace around the world such as Mercy Malaysia, Global Peace Foundation, and Angkatan Belia Islam (ABIM) by providing food, health treatment, teaching aids to countries in need. This is indirectly boosting Malaysia’s image at the international arena.
Bernama. (2018, November 29). Dr M issues warning over mockery of national harmony, peace. Kuala Lumpur: Bernama.
Bernama. (2019, October 1). Pasukan pertama MALBATT 850-7 berlepas ke Lubnan. Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Galtung, J. (1996). Peace by Peaceful Means: Pace and Conflict, Development and Civilization. Journal of Peace Research, 42.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia. (2019, April 4). Adoption of Malaysia-Sponsored United Nations General Assembly Resolution Entitled “Combating Terrorism and Other Acts of Violence Based On Religion or Belief”. Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Yunus, A., Harun, H. N., & Yusof, A. T. (2019, October 22). Malaysia to continue to speak out on Jammu, Kashmir. Kuala Lumpur: New Straits Times.