Malaysia: We want to learn from the experiences of Turkey

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Malaysian Interior Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said his country has much to learn from the way Turkey manages its borders and the systems Ankara has developed over the years to ensure its internal security.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, the Malaysian minister spoke about his week-long visit to Turkey, during which he visited Turkey’s border areas with Syria, Iraq and Greece.

Zainuddin added that Malaysia “would like to learn from Turkey’s experience on the means of controlling the flow of refugees, exchanging experiences in the field of tourism and preserving historic sites, as well as promoting popular cultural exchanges between the two countries”.

** Boundary experiment

And Zeineddine added, “At the beginning of his official visit to Ankara, he made a phone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which he informed him of their problems regarding border management.”

The minister flew during his visit to the Turkish border areas with Syria and Iraq, as well as sailed to see how Turkey manages its maritime borders with Greece.

Zinedine said Turkish officials there “showed him how they plan and manage borders, not only through actual monitoring, but also through the use of technological techniques”.

He added, “They built concrete walls, built roads and provided lighting along borders and other services,” stressing “the importance of having a proper border control department.”

** Border with Greece

During his visit to the Turkish border areas with Greece and Bulgaria, the minister said Turkish officials took him in a boat “to go to the border between Greece and Turkey”.

“Here I saw how Turkey took border control very seriously,” he said.

In light of the geopolitical situation of this region, the Malaysian Interior Minister said that there are “many interested parties or countries that want to have a base in this region”.

“Because of this, Turkey has come up with a policy to improve the security and defense situation in that region,” he added.

Zain Al-Din explained that “improving the security situation requires mastery of the right technologies and components, stressing that Turkey has developed this type of technology and industry to ensure that it has a sustainable defense mechanism in the future.”

The minister commended Turkey for adopting a “far-sighted policy” regarding the country’s defense and the preservation of its sovereignty and security.

Zainuddin said he had discussed many things with his Turkish counterpart Suleiman Soylu, stressing that there is much that Malaysia needs to learn from Turkey.

In this context, Zinedine visited the government-run call center in Istanbul, which includes 7 departments, including health, forestry and fire management, which “uses only one number, 112”, expressing his great admiration for everything he saw.

** Bilateral relations

Evaluating the close relations between Turkey and Malaysia, Zainuddin said they are “two Muslim countries working together in many sectors”, noting that the formal diplomatic relations established between the two countries in 1964 reached “another level” of understanding. between two countries. .

He noted the 500-year history shared with Malacca (peninsula in Malaysia).

Zinedine said Malaga had been a trading country since ancient times and Turkey (Ottoman Empire) was a great power.

He added: “In the current situation characterized by a changing global economy, in which the great powers are playing on their agenda, we in Malaysia think that we also need to work closely – not only with other countries – but also with Turkey. , where the two fraternal countries have worked for 500 years. “

He added that Turkey and Malaysia have a “natural understanding”, adding that he “will work to reach a comprehensive agreement between the two countries, especially regarding security and how to manage the borders in his country”.

Zaineddine indicated that the two countries are expected to “sign such an agreement in the coming months”.

** Memoranda of Understanding

The Malaysian minister indicated that the Corona epidemic has “slowed down the implementation of the memoranda of understanding signed between Turkey and Malaysia in the defense sector”.

In 2019, Turkey and Malaysia signed about 14 memoranda of understanding signed between Turkish and Malaysian companies, especially in the field of defense.

Zinedine said the Corona pandemic “certainly caused a lot of problems”, stressing that “the reason for his arrival in Turkey is to reactivate those deals”.

He added, “Given the good and positive aspects, we are planning what to do as soon as the epidemic problem is resolved and we can now start acting.”

The Malaysian Minister also visited the Turkish Aerospace Industry.

Speaking about the progress Turkey has made in the defense sector over the past two decades, Zeineldin said: “I am really impressed by what they have done in the last twenty years.”

He noted that in 1996, “a group of professionals from Turkey were sent to Malaysia to learn how to make composite materials used in the aviation industry”.

“It was 1996, I think they were inspired by what we had at the time. After 20 years, I could see that they were moving much faster than we did before,” he added.

Zeineldin suggested, “Turkey benefits from Malaysia ‘s accession to the world’ s largest trading alliance known as the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP).

“With so many other agreements we have, Turkey should use this opportunity to work closely with us, as it has a very large market,” he said.

The Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership Agreement is a regional free trade agreement between 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

** Aja Sofia

During his visit to Hagia Sophia, which opened for prayer in 2020, the Malaysian minister said everyone was “very happy” when Turkey opened the mosque for prayer.

He continued, “I understand that the Turkish people are not the only ones who come and pray here, there are many people who come from other parts of the world to pray in the mosque.”

Zain Al-Din stressed that historical values ​​”are very important to the people, as history is a civilization”.

On July 24, 2020, Friday prayers were held for the first time in 86 years at the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his deputy Fuat Oktay, and Parliament Speaker Mustafa Shantob. ministers, other officials and party leaders.

Hagia Sophia is located in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, was used as a 481-year-old mosque, and was turned into a museum in 1934 and is considered one of the most important architectural monuments in the history of the Middle East. .

** Rohingya and the struggle for identity

Regarding the solution of the Rohingya refugee flow problem, the Malaysian minister said that his country “is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees”.

“For humanitarian reasons, we allow them to be in Malaysia,” he added.

Zainuddin stressed, “No one can enter Malaysia without following the laws.”

He explained, “The real problem we face is not related to those who break all these laws, the real problem we face is people who are not registered.”

According to the United Nations, the Rohingya community is the most persecuted, as they were forced to flee their homeland, Myanmar, and thousands of them live in Malaysia.

“We want to make sure that those people who live in our country have their identity, in order to understand where they are, where they live, where they work, etc.,” said the Malaysian minister.

He stressed that “all Rohingyas who are in Malaysia are not registered”.

“When the Coast Guard managed to arrest some of the boats (carrying Rohingya people), we discovered that they had a UNHCR card,” he said.

Zain Al-Din asked: “Is this right ?! To give someone a card before he arrives in our country. This is not right. Currently, the Commission has issued about 200,000 cards, but this is just the beginning. “

“This is the biggest problem I have with the UNHCR,” he added.

Zainuddin said only the Malaysian National Registration Agency was authorized to issue ID cards.

He explained that the issue regarding the Rohingya is “more than the definition of their identity”.

Zainuddin stressed that “during the eighties of the last century, when the Vietnam War broke out, many people from the country fled to Malaysia.”

“At that time we allowed the commission to have a temporary office, but they stayed for many years,” he said.

Zainuddin stressed that Malaysia “would like to see how Turkey was able to manage this kind of problem, and for this reason I had a discussion with my dear brother Suleyman Soylu (Turkish Interior Minister).

“If they issue their ID card, they will get their passport,” he added.

Zainuddin noted that Malaysia was the first country in the world to “issue electronic passports” in 1998.

To resolve the Rohingya issue, he called on the Malaysian minister to “identify the real refugees and then proceed with the international method of co-operation between Myanmar and Malaysia, to accept their return”.

“We can talk to them (Myanmar) and maybe ask the United Nations to accept the return of the Rohingya to their country,” he said.

Regarding whether ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which includes Myanmar, has failed to help resolve the Rohingya issue, the Malaysian minister said: “We can not make any judgment at the moment.”

“If we say that ASEAN has failed in this matter, we must also say that the United Nations has failed in many other matters,” he asked.

“Failure is when you know the exact time given to any other country to resolve these kinds of issues,” Zeineldin added.

“ASEAN should be allowed to talk to Myanmar and tell it that the refugee issue is not only an internal problem, but also a social problem for neighboring countries like Malaysia,” he said.

He also asked ASEAN to “appoint a special envoy to go to Myanmar and talk to its officials”.

Zainuddin stressed that the issue “has become a security problem, not only for Malaysia, but for all ASEAN countries”.

** Islamic countries

Referring to Muslim-majority countries, Zainuddin said: “We need to look at all Muslim countries and the kind of problems they face. There is a crisis in leadership, political stability and the economic sectors.”

He added, “Some of our countries can take the lead and turn them (Islamic countries) to a certain level, where everyone should be happier in this world, especially when the world gets bigger in the aspect of values, culture and attitudes that will make the world better ”.

On the development of the political environment in Malaysia, Zainuddin said: “I am very positive and optimistic that Malaysia can reach another level, especially when all of them (political leaders) sit down, forget the problems of the past and give priority to the People.”

“The key to any country is that there is no leadership crisis and to do that, all the leaders have to sit down and say that now one of us has to take the lead,” he added.

Zainuddin continued: “We can reach another level, if everyone sits down and unites, and solidarity with Malaysia to go beyond what we have today.”

Referring to the geopolitical changes in the Asia-Pacific region, the Malaysian minister said: “Our policy in geopolitical terms is to work with everyone.”

He added, “The most important thing is to understand how we work together for all, the world should be seen as a single block.”

He explained that Malaysia would like to play a role in sharing everything it has to “learn from each other”, stressing that what we need is to have a “safe world in which everyone lives together”. “.

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