PM Najib says country can still work with US in different aspects while holding strong to their principles in objecting Jerusalem’s recognition
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian defence minister, calling the US’ decision to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel “a slap in the face for the entire Muslim world”, pointed out that his country’s military is prepared to perform its duty if its services are required.
“We have to be prepared for any possibilities. The ATM [Malaysian Armed Forces] has always been ready, waiting for instructions from the top leadership,” the Malaysian state news agency Bernama quoted Hishammuddin Hussein as saying.
“Let us pray that this dispute would not lead to chaos,” Hussein added.
The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and countries around the world.
On Sunday, about 10,000 Indonesians rallied outside the US Embassy in Jakarta in support of Palestinians, agencies reported.
The protesters were carrying banners reading “US Embassy, Gets Out from Al Quds,” ”Free Jerusalem and Palestinians” and “We are with the Palestinians.” Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
Sunday’s protest, organised by the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party, was the second since Trump’s decision on Thursday.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has strongly condemned Trump’s move, which he described as a violation of UN resolutions.
Indonesia, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has long been a strong supporter of Palestinians and has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
MALAYSIA PM REQUESTS TO POSTPONE SINGAPORE-MALAYSIA LEADERS’ RETREAT:
Earlier, on Saturday, Malaysian premier Najib Razak requested for next week’s 8th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat between him and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to be postponed.
This is due to Najib having to attend a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Turkey on Dec 13.
The OIC meeting, convened by Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was called following the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the United States government.
A Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman confirmed that the Retreat was postponed at Najib’s request, following Malaysia media reports of the OIC meeting.
Najib, who is also the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president, revealed this at a press conference after his party’s 71st general assembly.
“President Erdogan called me and asked me to attend. He said the voice of Malaysia is important,” said Mr Najib.
“Coincidentally, I have the annual consultation with the Singapore Prime Minister, and called Lee Hsien Loong to ask for his understanding as this affects not only my faith as a Muslim but the faith of all Muslims.”
3 hari lepas Presiden Erdogan telefon minta saya hadir Persidangan Khas OIC kerana suara Malaysia penting. Saya batalkan rundingan tahunan dengan Singapura dan terangkan kepada Perdana Menteri Lee Hsien Loong, isu Baitulmaqdis ini cukup penting kepada umat Islam seluruh dunia.
— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) December 9, 2017
At the press conference, Najib said the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the United States government would not affect the bilateral ties between Malaysia and the US.
He said Malaysia can still work with the US government in many different aspects while holding strong to their principles in objecting the recognition.
“Our relationship with the US is multidimensional and there are many other areas where we can work together on.
“But the principle is that we must stand tall in our stance,” said Najib.
He said if the announcement made by US President Donald Trump was implemented, the repercussions might mean more tension and possible serious bloodshed if action is not taken beforehand.
“This pertains to the issue of sovereignty that was set by the United Nations Security Council resolution.
“It would also complicate the two-state solution,” said Najib in reference to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Najib said it was not only the Muslim communities that were upset with Trump’s decision, but said many Christian nations were unhappy too.
When asked what military preparations were in place, Najib said, “We hope that it does not reach the stage that requires military involvement. At the moment, it is still at the diplomacy and discussion stage.”
A mass protest was held outside the US embassy on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur after Friday prayers