Foreign minister sees red over diplomats in Bersih 3.0 rally

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman answering journalists questions.

KUALA LUMPUR - The involvement of Malaysia-based foreign diplomats in Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 has incurred the displeasure of Wisma Putra.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said he had received reports about the involvement and participation of foreign diplomats in street demonstrations, citing the Bersih rally.

"Whether such involvement or participation is truly for information gathering or otherwise, it is definitely not a good move.

"I am worried that such a move may lead to negative perceptions. Worse, the diplomats concerned may get involved or injured in unfortunate incidents, given the unruly nature of street demonstrations.

"If that happened, things would be quite complicated, not least in terms of apportioning blame and responsibility," Anifah said during a luncheon with Asean heads of mission here yesterday.

However, Anifah did not mention the countries involved.

Anifah said that while he understood it was routine for ambassadors or high commissioners and their diplomats to follow closely political developments in their host country and report back to their respective governments, he was sure they were mindful of the sensitivities of countries in the region on the need to maintain good relations with one another.

On Asean, Anifah said 2015 would be a crucial year for Malaysia since Kuala Lumpur would assume the chairmanship of Asean and the target year for an Asean Community.

"There should be an Asean consciousness in the minds of our peoples. They must think Asean, feel Asean and act Asean."

He also touched on the overlapping claims in the South China Sea, saying Malaysia strongly believed that it should be addressed through peaceful means including dialogue and discussions among the claimant countries without resorting to threat or use of force.

"Malaysia is pleased that there is positive and continuing engagement between Asean and China as such engagement is essential to ensure continued peace and stability.

"Malaysia believes the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea should aim at creating a rules-based framework in managing the conduct and activities of the parties in the South China Sea," he added.

He also said Malaysia was vying for one of the non-permanent seats at the United Nations Security Council for the term 2015-2016.  

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