The Ballsy Makcik

ADUN Bandar Muadzam Dato' Maznah Mazlan

ADUN Bandar Muadzam Dato’ Maznah Mazlan

The recent analysis of Wanita UMNO Chief aspirant and candidate Dato’ Maznah Mazlan is very upbeat.  The Mole Editor Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal’s piece in The New Sunday Times is about a fairer dark horse and gutsy Wanita UMNO leader, who stood up to take the bull by its horn.

29 September 2013| last updated at 12:23AM

Maznah’s not your typical ‘makcik’

By Shamsul Akmar
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WANITA CONTEST: Maznah believes she can bridge the divide between the young and old if given a chance

BY any standard, Datuk Maznah Mazlan, the surprise challenger for the Wanita Umno chief post, may not be the makcik-makcik associated with the movement.

After all, when was the last time a makcik-makcik caught a 40kg billfish in the South China Sea off Rompin, which was what Maznah did a few years back?

Anyone into sport fishing will vouch that billfish fishing is not for the faint-hearted.

By the way, for easy reading, the term makcik-makcik is used to describe mature women who love to flash their jewellery. Their discussions centre on all things expensive and it may range from the latest fashion accessories to crockery and the list can go on and on.

And the term had, over the years, been associated with Wanita Umno, fairly or otherwise and somehow or other, pigeonholing the movement into an exclusive club where, the young and talented, may find it difficult to fit in.

Maznah insists she is one of the makcik-makcik. But she also disagrees that the definition should be so “simplistic”.

“There’s makcik-makcik in all of us… we do enjoy a banter on new dishware or accessories. But don’t forget, we believe that it is the makcik-makcik’s hands that rock the cradle.

“Trust me, I’ve been with Wanita’s makcik-makcik all these years. Despite the label, they are the backbone of the party. When it comes to campaigning for the party, they do it without giving a thought about being rewarded.”

Maznah, however, believes if she were given the opportunity to lead the movement, she would be able to bridge the divide between the young and old, as well as the urban and rural.

There is without doubt a growing interest among the young women in Umno who want to join the Wanita wing without having to be “interned” into the Puteri movement first.

For Maznah, who reportedly refused to be labelled the underdog, the odds are stacked against her.

She is up against a formidable foe, incumbent Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who, despite being hit by the National Feedlot Corporation scandal and not fielded as a candidate in the May 5 general election, seems to have the regard of the party leadership.

After all, she was appointed as the Special Adviser to the prime minister just over a month ago, signifying to many of her being the preferred choice of party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In the past, in Umno, the endorsement of a party president carried much weight. However, the present is not as easily defined as the past.

While Maznah’s entry may be frowned by the top party leadership, she is offering herself at a time when Umno is at a stage where it has to redefine itself and its struggle.

And, much as pundits are not giving her much of a chance, the fact that Umno had come out of the general election badly scarred and wounded, assessment of the party election outcome may not be as predictable as some in Umno would want it to be.

For one, this election is the first time that voting will involve almost 150,000 delegates as opposed to the 3,000 or so delegates previously (for Wanita Umno the voting delegates will be about 80,000).

The mood of such a huge grassroots representation will not be easy to assess nor shaped.

Secondly, there is a strong rumbling down the ranks, including within the Wanita wing that wants to see a “renewal” in the leadership.

The renewal that is sought can be as shallow as wanting a change in the leadership.

Or deeper, involving even the re-evaluation of the movement’s value system, its struggle and its ability to keep its relevancy to the Malay/Bumiputera cause and at the same time reaffirming not only its position as the nation’s leading party but also the party that leads the coalition forming the government.

Further, what has been developing since before the general election and in this run-up to the party election, is a major disconnect between the Umno leadership and its grassroots.

Or has the Umno leadership taken for granted scandals, perceived or otherwise, that are associated with some of its leaders which had wide and far-reaching impact, and that its failure to take quick and decisive measures, had subjected party members to ridicule and contempt?

While the top two Umno leaders — the president and deputy president — are spared from being challenged, the vice-presidencies and other posts are being contested all the way down to the branches. Is this an expression of discontent albeit members exercising their democratic rights?

Whether the Umno leadership wants to recognise it or not, there is a sense of helplessness among members and Malay/Bumiputera supporters who feel that it lacked the urgency and probably even the ability to deal with the suffocating political environment which had been felt since before the general election.

Maznah and the other contenders are entering the fray when Umno is going through a tumultuous period.

The choppy waves will make it extremely difficult for novices to land a catch.

But it is also during the stormy weather when big fishes get hooked.

Read more: Maznah’s not your typical ‘makcik’ – Columnist – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/maznah-s-not-your-typical-makcik-1.365004?cache=03%2F7.202804%2F7.203272%3Fpage%3D0%3Fkey%3DKuala+Lumpur#ixzz2gInGmftB

The Malaysian Insider felt that the ADUN for Muadzam Shah is offering Wanita UMNO to uplift their image, after being tarnished due to incumbent Wanita UMNO Chief Dato’ Seri Shahrizat A Jalil dragging the most important wing into her personal problems, almost three years ago.

Peluang Wanita Umno memulihkan imejnya – Shahbudin Husin

SEPTEMBER 28, 2013

Kehadiran Maznah Mazlan sebagai pencabar Shahrizat Jalil di saat-saat akhir bagi jawatan Ketua Wanita UMNO pada 12 Oktober depan, kembali menghangatkan perebutan bagi jawatan itu. Sebelum ini apabila bekas Ketua Puteri UMNO, Azalina Othman Said menarik diri daripada mencabar Shahrizat kerana dikhabarkan dinasihatkan berbuat demikian di samping dijanjikan kedudukan dalam sebuah GLC serta jawatan kanan dalam Wanita UMNO, bekas Menteri Pembangunan Wanita dan Keluarga itu dijangka akan menang mudah dalam pemilihan kali ini.

Ini kerana, meskipun terdapat seorang lagi individu bakal mencabarnya iaitu Raihan Sulaiman Palestin tetapi beliau dilihat bukanlah seorang yang mempunyai kekuatan dan profil meyakinkan untuk menggugat Shahrizat. Selain rekod dan pencapaiannya dalam Puteri UMNO suatu ketika dahulu tidak ada yang membanggakan, pergaulan dan percampurannya dalam Wanita UMNO juga begitu terhad.

Orangramai mungkin hanya mengingati Raihan kerana beliau adalah anak kepada Sulaiman Palestin yang pernah mengejutkan ramai kerana keberaniannya mencabar Hussein Onn bagi jawatan Presiden UMNO. Selebihnya hampir tidak ada. Lantaran itu, Raihan tidak dilihat sebagai pencabar yang kuat kepada Shahrizat.

Tetapi dengan kehadiran Maznah, yang muncul tanpa sebarang desas-desus atau khabar angin sebelumnya tetapi muncul mengemukakan borang pencalonan hanya kira-kira 20 minit sebelum tempohnya berakhir, menjadikan perebutan jawatan Ketua Wanita UMNO kembali panas dan laluan Shahrizat untuk mempertahankan jawatan tersebut turut berliku.

Maznah, salah seorang EXCO Wanita, kini merupakan ADUN Muadzam Shah dan sebelum ini pernah dilantik Senator dan Timbalan Menteri Sumber Manusia, dilihat cukup meyakinkan bukan saja untuk memberi cabaran kepada Shahrizat tetapi juga untuk melakar wajah baru yang lebih berseri kepada Wanita UMNO bagi menghadapi PRU 14.

Dibandingkan dengan Shahrizat yang pernah menjadi menteri dan lebih popular berbanding Maznah, tetapi dari sudut imej dan”baggage” Maznah ternyata kelihatan lebih baik dan lebih ringan. Beliau tidak ada imej lembu NFC yang menjadi perbualan umum dan penyelewengan dana 1Azam sebagaimana Shahrizat.

Sebaik mengetahui beliau bakal dicabar oleh salah seorang Exconya, Shahrizat lantas memberi reaksi spontannya dengan mengaitkan kehadiran Maznah sebagai calon proksi yang dikatakan ditonjolkan oleh Rafidah Aziz, selain cuba memburukkan pencabarnya itu sebagai tokoh wanita yang tidak aktif serta tidak menghadiri mesyuarat sejak sekian lama.

Walaupun Maznah pantas menangkis kehadirannya sebagai calon proksi dengan mengatakan beliau seorang yang boleh berfikir dan membuat pendirian sendiri, reaksi Shahrizat itu jelas memperlihatkan beliau mulai rasa tergugat kedudukannya.

Memang diakui bahawa Wanita UMNO merupakan sayap penting kepada UMNO. Mereka bukan saja saja aktif dalam kerja-kerja pilihanraya dan kemasyarakatan tetapi kehadiran golongan wanita jugalah yang menunjangi kekuatan UMNO dan kerajaan selama ini. Bukan saja dalam mesyuarat UMNO cawangan-cawangan tetapi juga pelbagai program di seluruh pelusuk negara, termasuk yang didihadiri Perdana Menteri dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri, jika tidak kerana ramainya kaum wanita yang memenuhi majlis dan menampakkan program yang diadakan mendapat sambutan ramai, barangkali sudah lama Najib dan Muhyiddin patah semangat dibuatnya.

Namun isu lembu NFC telah banyak mencalarkan wajah Wanita UMNO. Isu itu membuatkan Wanita UMNO tidak lagi dihormati seperti dulu. Dalam pilihanraya umum lalu, antara sebab Wanita UMNO masih mampu bertahan ialah kerana Shahrizat tidak dijadikan calon pilihanraya dan ramai yang menganggapnya tempoh kepimpinannya akan berakhir sebaik saja pilihanraya tamat. Penggugurannya sebagai menteri meyakinkan rakyat bahawa zaman pencennya sudah menemui titik mula.

Cuba bayangkan prestasi UMNO dan gerak kerja Wanitanya dalam pilihanraya lalu jika Shahrizat dijadikan calon atau diberitahu beliau akan dilantik sebagai penasihat bertaraf menteri kepada Perdana Menteri?

Dalam hal ini, merubah dan menyolek wajah baru kepada Wanita UMNO untuk ditampilkan lebih berseri adalah penting untuk difikirkan. Ketika isu lembu NFC muncul dulu, begitu ramai yang mahukan Shahrizat berundur. Mereka termasuklah Mahathir, beberapa pemimpin UMNO dan kalangan dalam Wanita UMNO sendiri.

Selepas pemilihan 12 Oktober ini, pemilihan UMNO yang seterusnya ialah pada 2016. Tetapi mengikut amalan biasa, pemilihan itu selalunya akan ditanggunhkan untuk memberi laluan kepada pilihanraya umum yang mungkin diadakan pada 2017 atau 2018. Jika itu berlaku, bermakna kepimpinan yang dipilih kali ini adalah mereka yang akan memainkan peranan dalam pilihanraya akan datang yang dijangka tidak kurang getir dan mencabarnya seperti pilihanraya umum lalu.

Persoalannya, jika Shahrizat dipilih lagi, mampukah Wanita UMNO berdepan dengan rakyat sedangkan beliau yang dulunya sudah digugurkan sebagai menteri kini dilantik pula sebagai penasihat khas bertaraf menteri? Tidakkah rakyat terasa mereka dipermain-mainkan dengan pengguguran Shahrizat sebelum ini?

Walaupun Maznah tidak sepopular Shahrizat tetapi imej dan rekodnya belum tercemar lagi. Penampilannya juga meyakinkan. Jika dulu Azalina dikatakan tidak sesuai memimpin Wanita UMNO kerana tidak pernah mempunyai pergaulan yang cukup dalam Wanita, selain tidak pernah menjadi ibu, Maznah melebihi kelayakan itu. Soal calon proksi tidak seharusnya ditimbulkan kerana ketika Shahrizat mencabar Rafidah dulu pun, tiada sesiapa bertanya beliau calon proksi kepada siapa ketika itu.

Pemilihan pemimpin Wanita UMNO kali ini tidak diragui lagi mempunyai kepentingan bukan saja dalam memulihkan imejnya tetapi yang jauh lebih penting ialah peranannya dalam membantu sama ada UMNO terus tegak atau berkecai dalam pilihanraya akan datang. Mengekalkan mereka yang telah tercemar dan terpalit dengan kekotoran samalah seperti menyumbang kepada keruntuhan UMNO.

Inilah masanya untuk Wanita UMNO membuat pilihan yang jujur dan objektif. – shahbudindotcom.blogspot.com, 28 September, 2013.

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In addendum, little Annie the blogger created a new poll where Maznah is clearly taking the 86% popularity lead. Of course, Maznah is her pick as the ‘saviour of Wanita UMNO’.

Published in: on September 29, 2013 at 23:30  Comments (6)  

ASEAN support Wisma Putra for UN Security Council seat

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman is the last formal engagement with ASEAN foreign ministers, Brunei 30 June 2013

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman at the last formal engagement with ASEAN foreign ministers, Brunei 30 June 2013

“One Vision, One Identity, One Community”. That is the motto for Association of South East Asian Nations and has prevailed in their support for Malaysia’s as nation-candidate in the non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council for the term 2015-16.

28 September 2013| last updated at 08:18PM

Malaysia is Asean’s candidate for non-permanent member of UN Security Council

By SHARIF HARON in NEW YORK
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NEW YORK: Malaysia is now Asean’s official candidate for a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the term 2015-2016.

The endorsement by Asean members was obtained at the Informal Meeting of the Asean Foreign Ministers, held on the sidelines of the 68th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman attended the informal meeting.

A statement issued by his ministry said the endorsement is significant to Malaysia.

“With it, Malaysia is now Asean’s official candidate for the post. This would help raise the profile of our candidacy and would be the basis of the endorsement by the wider Asian region,” it said.

It added: “We will continue our efforts to ensure that Malaysia will receive the highest possible number of votes during the elections for this post, which is scheduled to be held in October next year in New York.

“These efforts include holding bilateral meetings with our counterparts who are also present in New York.”

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Malaysian Armed Forces as UN peacekeepers aka 'Blue Berets'

Men and women of the Malaysian Armed Forces as UN peacekeepers aka ‘Blue Berets’

The confidence is reflective of Malaysia’s consistent foreign policy on international affairs such as the initiatives of peace process in the West Asia and a permanent solution for the Palestinians. the consultative approach and engagements to resolve the multiple claims in South China Sea and the more recent, the Syrian civil war. Malaysia’s stance and roles in international conflict which include participation as part of the ‘blue beret contingent’ also serve as a testimony for the membership.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Malaysia from 4-6 October 2013 and some bi-lateral issues would be concluded. President Xi would be in Kuala Lumpur 4-5 October and in Kota Kinabalu 5-6 October.

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 5.14.50 AM

Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman provided a strong leadership for the Malaysian Government and a stream of professional team of international politics and diplomatic corps, who have been consistent in their engagements at their respective levels in the region and international forums.

All these have been carried out in formal or informal meetings.

Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman addressing the UN General Assembly

The informal between of ASEAN foreign ministers during the current 68th UN General Assembly is a demonstration how the on going work to lobby Malaysia’s candidacy at the UN Security Council.

Foreign Minister Anifah has been working hard to achieve Malaysia being elected in the world’s most strategic forum for international conflict.

Published: Tuesday May 21, 2013 MYT 5:33:00 PM
Updated: Thursday August 1, 2013 MYT 5:36:14 PM

Malaysia to work hard for UN Security Council seat

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will go all out to secure a seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2015-2016 term so that the country can play a part in international security issues.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Tuesday that although he was confident that Asean member states would support Malaysia, considering it was the only Asean state contesting, the votes of other countries were equally important.

“We must not take it for granted. We have to work very hard and we have to engage and meet leaders from various countries to secure the seat, but I am quite confident that Malaysia has a very good name globally,” he told reporters here.

Anifah said the seat in UNSC would send a strong message of peace and the right to co-exist.

On another matter, he said it was also important for the ministry to clear Malaysia’s name abroad, since there were some people who tarnished and smeared the country’s good image through relentless allegations and negative tactics, especially on the recently-concluded general election.

On the 21 Malaysians detained in Singapore for staging a protest over the general election results, he said the law of the country should be respected but it was the duty of the ministry to assist if it was needed.

On the visit of United States President Barack Obama in October, Anifah said, while there were indications he was coming, it had to be re-confirmed since his schedule might be changed due to internal problems.

He said Malaysia was looking forward to enhance the country’s relations with its neighbours, including Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

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Malaysia is bidding against Fiji to represent the Asia-Pacific Group. The election is set during the 69th UN General Assembly in October 2014. The term, will commence from 1 January 2015 for two years.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Previous, Malaysia served as UNSC member during 1965, 1989-1990 and 1999-2000 terms.

*Updated 1330hrs

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s engagement approach and middle-path and moderate interpretation of Islam is translated in his speech at 68th UN General Assembly.

28 September 2013| last updated at 11:53PM

Full text of Najib’s speech at UN General Assembly

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The full text of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib’s speech at the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York tonight.

Mr President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to begin by congratulating you, Mr President, on your election. I offer you Malaysia’s full cooperation and support as you seek to further the cause of peace and prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Three years ago, I stood before you and called for a Global Movement of Moderates. It was a call to reject extremism in all its forms.

Because the real divide is not between East and West or between the developed and developing worlds or between Muslims, Christians and Jews.

It is between moderates and extremists of all religions.

Much has changed since 2010. Then, a current of protest and reform surged through the Middle East and North Africa.

Out of the heat of the Arab Spring, new questions arose: about the pace of democratic change, about the role of Islam in politics, and about the need for more inclusive development.

But the search for answers to those questions has been put on hold.

As authoritarian regimes have fallen, and governments have been swept away by political change, extremists have tried to fill the space that remains.

Motivated by ideology, politics and religion, they have sought refuge from the hard work of development in the unholy practice of violence.

Conflicts have spilled across borders, inflaming old tensions, and igniting new ones. Around the world, extremism is taking lives and crushing opportunity.

This affects us all; but it is one people, of one faith, who suffer most. I believe the greatest threat to Muslims today comes not from the outside world, but from within.

The conflict between Sunni and Shia threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Muslims. Our religion – founded on peace, and premised on tolerance – is being twisted by extremists, who are deploying false arguments to foster division and justify violence.

Across the Islamic world, extremists are wrapping their perverse agenda in religious cloth; tearing families, countries and the ummah apart.

With each new atrocity, tensions are wound tighter, and peace seems further away.

The corrosive influence of extremism cannot be easily countered. But we are not powerless to act. I believe moderation in religion and the political process can stem the loss of life and liberty in the Muslim world.

Behind the tragic violence, there is a battle being waged for the future of Islam. By reaffirming our commitment to moderation – and solving the political problems that drive instability – we can seize back the centre ground.

We can marginalise the extremists. And we can advance an agenda for peace, harmony and justice.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Around the world, Muslims have watched in despair as conflict tears into some of our oldest communities. Rarely in our history has the ummah faced violence on this scale.

Right now, the world’s attention is rightly focused on Syria. United Nations investigators have concluded that the focus of the war has shifted along ethnic and religious lines, and become ‘overtly sectarian’.

A conflict which began with anti-government protests threatens to descend into a war of ethnic cleansing.

With fighters from Hezbollah engaging on Syrian soil, the conflict now threatens Lebanon too.

Last month, after car bombs killed dozens in Beirut, 42 people died in explosions outside Sunni mosques.

Communities are dividing along religious lines, with hard-line preachers urging violence between Sunni and Shia.

Meanwhile, the security situation in Iraq continues to unravel, as Sunni extremist groups and Shia militia struggle for control.

In the last four months, nearly 3,000 people have been killed. In the last week alone, three funerals have been bombed in Baghdad. Women and children have been blown apart whilst mourning.

Again, the violence is carried out between Sunni and Shia. In one Iraqi town, four children from one Shia family were slain with knives.

In another, local people – neighbours for generations – have built blast walls to keep themselves apart. Forced displacements are growing.=

In Pakistan, bombings have wrecked the city of Quetta, killing hundreds. Revenge attacks spread to Lahore; bombs have been detonated in Karachi.

In August, militants ambushed buses, dividing the passengers according to belief; those who answered incorrectly were executed.

Each of these conflicts has a distinct cause, but they follow a darkly familiar path.

Emboldened by political failures, radical preachers and militant groups turn civil conflicts into wider religious wars. Yet the preaching of such violence is completely counter to the Islamic faith.

The Quran not only condemns suicide, unjust war, and retribution by force; it also makes clear the Prophet’s desire for Muslims to live in peace with one another and their neighbours.

Verse 8:61 says, ‘And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah’. Verse 5:32, that ‘whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely’. And verse 2:256 holds that ‘there shall be no compulsion in religion’.

It should come as no surprise that there is no scriptural basis for the atrocities being committed in the name of Islam. Under the six higher objectives of Islamic law, the first and foremost is the protection and preservation of life.

Yet even during Ramadan, our holy month – when contemplation, devotion and compassion reign uppermost in Muslim minds – the extremists would not stop. More than 4,400 people died this Ramadan in Syria; 371 in Iraq; 120 in Pakistan.

This is a burden we can no longer afford to bear. It is time to end the killing, and concentrate instead on building a common agenda for peace and prosperity. There are two things we can do.

First of all, I believe that peace-loving Muslims – the overwhelming majority of Muslims – should unite against the extremists who use our religion as an excuse to commit violence.

And one of the most powerful tools we have to do so is al-wasatiyyah: the practice of moderation.

Verse 2:143 of the Quran says that ‘we have made you into a community that is justly balanced’. This concept – of balance and moderation, of social justice within our faith – is a central tenet of Islam. It asks of us that we hold to the principles displayed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Medina Charter.

Our task is to reclaim our faith, by articulating clearly the true nature of Islam: the religion of peace, of moderation, of tolerance.

We should speak this message clearly, so that all may hear it; and stand firm against the minority who use Islam to further violent and unjust ends.

We should not mistake moderation for weakness. To face those baying for violence and call instead for calm is a sign not of frailty, but of strength.

Muslim leaders should speak up and condemn such violence, lest their silence is mistaken for acceptance.

Moderation can be practiced at the national level, as is the case in Malaysia, by choosing mutual respect and inclusivity, and strengthening the bonds between different communities and faiths.

All countries should reinforce their commitment to the principles of moderation; not just in religion, but for sustainable development and stable economic growth.

Moderation can also direct regional policy. It sits at the heart of Malaysia’s efforts to bring peace to the southern Philippines, and to Thailand’s restive south.

And ASEAN, which endorsed the Global Movement of Moderates, has made a commitment to peaceful settlement and the non use of force in territorial disputes.

And at the international level, moderation can guide our approach to the great global challenges of our age: violent extremism, sustainable development, and equitable growth.

Secondly, we should give our all to resolve the political problems which raise tensions in the Muslim world – starting with Syria.

We cannot underline strongly enough the need for a Syrian-led inclusive political process.

Malaysia is against any unilateral action to resolve the conflict. All sides must come together to work out a political settlement.

We welcome the recent US-Russia Framework Agreement, condemn without reservation the use of chemical weapons, and call on the international community to intensify their efforts to explore all possible diplomatic options for peace under the auspices of the UN.

We must also find the vision and the political will to commit to a just solution for Palestine.

We fervently hope that progress towards a viable Palestinian state – based on pre-1967 borders, and with East Jerusalem as its capital – will be made, and that the US and other members of the Quartet continue to play their role as honest brokers in the process.

Only with peace can there be development and dignity for the Palestinian people.

Finally, we should continue to focus on building stronger and more prosperous societies, predicated on the rule of law and the practice of democracy.

The Arab Spring showed that the Muslim world is crying out for change. Governments must answer that call.

We must provide good governance to fight corruption, create jobs to tackle poverty, and deliver sustainable growth that builds a world of opportunity for our citizens.

We must create economies in which people can fulfil their own aspirations, not those of extremists.

By acting to solve our most difficult political problems, we can bring an end to the immediate suffering – in Syria, in Palestine, and in the wider world.

By committing to the cause of moderation, Muslims can secure something even greater.

We can reclaim our religion, choosing harmony and acceptance over division and conflict.

And we can broadcast a vision of Islam as it is understood by Muslims around the world: as a religion of peace, tolerance, and moderation.

Last month, when militants attacked those buses in Pakistan, a 19 year-old Sunni student named Ghulam Mustafa stood up for such a vision.

Confronting the Sunni gunmen, he said killing Shiites was wrong.

Ghulam was shot dead, but his life was not lost in vain.

With guns to their heads, the Sunnis on the bus refused to identify the Shia passengers who the gunmen wanted to kill.

In their defiance, we see the true measure of courage, and the true test of faith.

Under unimaginable pressure, facing the greatest possible threat, they chose to stand with their brothers and sisters. They chose unity over division.

Faced with unimaginable pressure, and the greatest possible threat, we must summon the will to do the same.

Thank you.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak delivering the National Statement at the 68th United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) General Debate here today. –fotoBERNAMA (2013) COPYRIGHT RESERVED

Read more: Full text of Najib’s speech at UN General Assembly – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/full-text-of-najib-s-speech-at-un-general-assembly-1.364884?cache=03%2F7.226542#ixzz2gG1yUnVO

Published in: on September 29, 2013 at 02:00  Comments (8)