PUTRAJAYA DEC.15: The Secretary of State of the United States of America, Antony Blinken appreciates Malaysia’s remarkable leadership following 78 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Antony Blinken said, the success of Malaysia’s leadership in handling COVID-19 pandemic via its vaccination programme and pledges to contribute vaccines to Bangladesh and Laos is a tremendous pride for both US and Malaysia.
He said, in his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah this morning, among the issues discussed was on how both countries could collaborate as Malaysia has a strong voice on the pandemic besides having good leadership.
The Secretary of State added, they also discussed on how the global health architect could be improved and strengthened to help people example the Africans to get vaccine supplies in real time and away from discrepancies.
“Next year US will contribute USD1.2 billion worth of vaccine aids to countries without strings attached. We are not only producing vaccines but to get the people in the world to get their vaccine shots on time.
“Many countries get mobilised during the pandemic crisis but become complacent when it is over,” he said in a joint-press conference with Minister Saifuddin here this morning.
Antony Blinken is on his two day working visit to Malaysia after visiting Indonesia. He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob this afternoon.
On the question of the Malaysian products not been able to be exported to the US due to alleged bad labour practices and on humanitarian grounds, Saifuddin said, the Malaysian government is committed to ensure employees get their salaries, accommodations and provide channels to lodge their complaints.
Regarding the political crisis in Myanmar that is ongoing after the military coup de’etat on 1st February 2021, Saifuddin said, the ASEAN should go for a soul searching drive as the Five-Point Consensus has not been realized.
Elaborating on this, Saifuddin said, on Myanmar’s political crisis, ASEAN as a group could not get everyone to agree with everything like who to invite and attend the ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting on 19th January 2022 in Cambodia.
“Due to the “non-indifference” attitude of the ASEAN leaders, the Myanmar political crisis has spread to Bangladesh and Malaysia where Malaysia is “taking care” of close to 200,000 Rohingyas.
“The ASEAN leaders should have several plans and not only stick to one because if a plan did not work then another plan could be implemented,” he said.
Regarding Myanmar’s issue, Antony Blinken said, US has been ASEAN dialogue partner since 1977 and the States has condemned the violence and pressured the junta (military) to release detainees including Aung San Suu Kyi.
“If the situation in Myanmar does not change then additional steps should be taken either individually or collectively to release the political detainees.
“The leaders should discuss on the future of ASEAN and what steps should be taken to realize the Five Point Consensus,” Antony Blinken said.
A Five-Point Consensus was agreed at the ASEAN Leaders Summit and it includes – an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar, constructive dialogue among all parties, the appointment of a special ASEAN envoy to facilitate dialogue, the provision of humanitarian assistance, and a visit by the envoy to Myanmar. – Malaysia World News