Sanctions by superpowers hurt small countries - PM



Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today slammed several world superpowers for imposing sanctions on small countries in the region.

He said the sanction would hurt not only the country involved but also other countries for "no reason at all".

“We have no quarrel with this country, but we are stopped from doing any business with this country because of the sanction. This is grossly unfair.

“As a small country, we cannot apply sanctions on anybody but it is the big powers who apply the sanctions and therefore, it deprives the small countries’ freedom.

“Despite the fact that they keep on talking about human rights and freedom, they take away our freedom to trade with our own trading partners,” he said at a joint press conference with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Prime Minister’s Office in the Peace Palace, Phnom Penh today.

Mahathir said the issue would be brought at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which will be held from Sept 17 to 30.

“It is a good platform for us to raise the issue,” he said.

Earlier, Mahathir, who is on a three-day official visit to Cambodia starting yesterday, held a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, Hun Sen.

He said Malaysia and Cambodia had agreed that seas in the region should be free for navigation with no restrictions.

“It will hamper the development of countries bordering the seas,” he said.

On Timor Leste joining Asean, Mahathir said: “We will try to ensure Timor Leste becomes one of the Asean member countries in the next Asean meeting.

“Timor Leste has been applying to join Asean for a long time and it should become a member of Asean,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen said Malaysia and Cambodia are committed to pushing for a conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement within this year because it is vital for regional economic integration and growth.

He said Malaysia and Cambodia are committed to further enhance and strengthen cooperation in bilateral and multi-bilateral frameworks to serve the interests of the people of both countries for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.

“We acknowledge the need to promote training and information-sharing in the fields of security and national defence and welcome the discussion between the two defence ministries on promoting cooperation.

“We encourage relevant institutions of both countries to accelerate the conclusion of the memorandum of understanding on cooperation in combating trafficking in persons,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mahathir and Hun Sen witnessed the signing of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA) and the memorandum of understanding on cooperation in tourism.

The agreement and MoU were signed by Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and Cambodian Economic and Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth and Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon.

Malaysia-Cambodia trade last year stood at US$558 million (RM2.35 billion) while during the first six months of this year, the value reached US$422.6 million (RM1.78 billion), an increase of 39.2 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.

At present, there are about 400 Malaysian companies operating in the kingdom including in banking, hospitality, telecommunication, petroleum.

- Bernama

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