Malaysia PM to attend APEC 2023 in US
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today decided to join the 2023 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Week in San Francisco, United States of America when there were calls for him not to attend.
Anwar, who is also the Minister of Finance, said the decision to participate in the conference was to protect the country’s interests from various angles of diplomatic, security and economic relations, and insisted that he did not budge in defending justice and the struggle of the Palestinian people.
Realising that the decision would not please all parties, Anwar hopes that he will not be punished as being pro-Israeli for attending the conference, which will be attended by all Asian member countries at the invitation of US President Joe Biden.
“For me, the priority is to maintain diplomatic relations and peace even if we do not budge in the defence of justice and support the struggle for the rights of the Palestinian people,” he said when speaking at a gathering with the Ministry of Finance staff here today.
“As the prime minister, I want to look after the interests of this country, I want to look after its security, economy and prosperity,” he said, admitting that there was pressure for him not to participate in 2023 APEC.
APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to capitalise on the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific, and this year, it will take place in San Francisco from November 11 to 17.
All 21 APEC member economies account for nearly 40 per cent of the global population, nearly 50 per cent of global trade and more than 60 per cent of US goods exports.
APEC member economies comprise Australia, Brunei, Canada; Chile, China; Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taipei, Thailand, US and Vietnam.
Anwar said the priority of Malaysia for Palestine is peace as well as humanitarian aid to assist the affected people of the country.
“Contact any big companies, find a way or add more funds to surpass RM100 million of the Humanitarian Trust Fund for the People of Palestine (AAKRP) collection. We will distribute and ensure that the shipment goes through a reliable body,” he said.
The AAKRP fund supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established following the violent conflict and fighting in the Gaza Strip
Anwar meanwhile also asked all parties in this country not to politicise the Palestine-Israel issue.
“I see that sometimes the polemics of parties and extreme groups are quite extreme. It’s okay, in this Gaza issue, let’s work together, people are killed, small children die, think how to help together,” he said.
The latest fighting in Palestine involving Hamas, the authorities in Gaza, and the Israeli regime since Oct. 7, has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.