Anifah’s verbal pyrotechnics hide a terribly weak case and reinforces why he must explain reasons for Malaysia’s diplomatic setback in losing 50 votes in UN failing to get elected to UNHRC
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s verbal pyrotechnics hide a terribly weak case and reinforces the case why he must explain the reasons for Malaysia’s diplomatic setback in losing 50 votes in the United Nations failing to get elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the new year.
In accordance with paragraph 7 of General Assembly resolution 60/251 the UNHRC shall consist of 47 Member States, which shall be elected directly and individually by secret ballot by the majority of the members of the General Assembly.
The membership shall be based on equitable geographical distribution, and seats shall be distributed as follows among regional groups:
- Group of African States (13)
- Group of Asia-Pacific States (13)
- Group of Eastern European States (6)
- Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (8)
- Group of Western European and other States (7)
The members of the Council shall serve for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms.
Last week, during its 72nd session in 2017, the UN General Assembly elected 15 members to serve on the Human Rights Council.
Malaysia, which received 129 votes, was the only country to lose out as there were 16 countries vying for the 15 seats.
The 15 members were elected according to a quota of four seats each for the Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, three seats for Latin America and Caribbean states, two for Eastern European states, and two for Western European and other states.
Malaysia was the only country among the five that competed for the four UNHRC seats allocated to Asia-Pacific.
Anifah gave three reasons which might explain for Malaysia’s UNHRC defeat – to use his own words:
“With regard to the reason for our unsuccessful bid, there could be several probable assumptions, among them being: member states backing a first-time candidate; early submission of candidature and the ability to campaign aggressively due to unlimited financial resources, amongst other.”
None of these three reasons really past muster.
Firstly, Pakistan was re-elected to serve its fourth term on the UNHRC, as compared to Malaysia’s failed attempt to serve for a third term on UNHRC.
Secondly, Malaysia was the earliest to announce her candidacy for the UNHRC, together with a voluntary pledge to support the candidature – on 5th January 2017, as compared to Nepal on 16th August 2017; Pakistan on 11th May 2017; Afghanistan on 5th September 2017; and Qatar on 11th April 2017.
Thirdly, the country with “unlimited financial resources” to have “the ability to campaign aggressively” is only Qatar and cannot apply to Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are much poorer than Malaysia.
Anifah should explain in Parliament (i) why Malaysia lost out to Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan; (2) why Malaysia lost 50 UN votes as compared to 2010 when Malaysia sought election to the UNHRC, securing 179 votes as compared to the 129 votes last week; and (3) whether this should be a sobering “wake-up” call for Malaysia that her international infamy and ignominy as a global kleptocracy arising from the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal is beginning to have an adverse impact on Malaysia’s international reputation and standing, and that the Malaysian government cannot continue with its denial syndrome to disregard such international infamy and ignominy?