Malaysia’s High Commissioner Dato Ahmad Rasidi Bin Hazizi says his country’s 60-plus year membership of the Commonwealth makes it the excellent candidate to host CHOGM next time
THIS YEAR MARKS Malaysia’s 61st anniversary of membership of the fraternity of the Commonwealth. While time has passed and circumstances have greatly changed since we joined this august organisation six decades ago, the Commonwealth today still remains as relevant to Malaysiaas ever. The fact that Malaysia has benefitted immensely from the Commonwealth is beyond doubt. The English language, common law tradition, Westminster’s system of parliamentary democracy, an effective civil service and education system are just some of the enduring legacies that we have been fortunate to inherit.
As leaders from Commonwealth nations congregate in London for 2018 CHOGM, it is an opportune moment to acknowledge the Commonweath’s role and contribution in binding nations and people together with hope and opportunity. As home to 2.4 billion citizens – two-thirds of whom are under the age of 30 – the Commonwealth represents the past and the future in a manner that few other organisations can.
In a world beset with a myriad of challenges, the Commonwealth – drawing on its strengths and uniqueness – should and does have an important role to play in ensuring global peace and prosperity. The theme for this year’s CHOGM, ‘Towards a Common Future,’ could not be more fitting for a world in which twenty-first century citizens have endured a period of tremendous upheaval, driven by events such as terrorism and violent extremism, the global financial crisis, natural disasters and climate change.
Malaysia has always believed that tolerance, mutual respect and moderation are important elements for peaceful co-existence and countering extremism. This is extremely relevant not only in a multicultural and multi-religious society like Malaysia, but also in the wider context of the Commonwealth nations too. That is why Malaysia initiated the Global Movement of the Moderates (GMM) at UNGA in 2010, which was also endorsed by CHOGM in Perth in 2011 and Colombo in 2013. Last year, we achieved further success in our endeavours with the adoption of the Resolution on Moderation at the UNGA, which included observing the International Year of Moderation in 2019. We are fully appreciative of the Commonwealth members’ strong and continued support towards promoting these values that we all share.
Malaysia’s trade linkages and cooperation with Commonwealth countries remain strong and substantial, and represent an important component of our global trade. In the past ten years, Malaysia’s total trade with the Commonwealth countries grew 59.7 per cent from US$64.7 billion to US$103.435 billion. Malaysian companies are also present in almost all Commonwealth member countries, and huge opportunities remain to expand business collaboration.
As the host of CHOGM in 2020, Malaysia looks forward to working closely with the Commonwealth’s other member nations to address the issues and challenges affecting our citizens, to ensure that they will attain the peace and prosperity that they deserve. This will certainly be an excellent opportunity for Malaysia to reaffirm its commitment and contribution towards promoting not only the values and principles of the Commonwealth, but also the important work that it does towards bringing positive change in the lives of its people.