Veteran diplomat Tan Sri Razali Ismail is supremely optimistic about Malaysia's chances of securing a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council this time around and has a wish-list of what he believes the country should accomplish. Below is the full transcript of the interview with Tan Sri Razali Ismail.
Q: What is your prognosis on Malaysia's chances of being elected into the UN Security Council (UNSC) again in October this year, for a fourth time?
A: I think our chances are very good. I would be seriously disappointed if we do not get elected. The possibility does not arise.
Usually if you have done it regionally there is more or less a virtual consensus before the time itself. There may be many a slip between the cup and the lip. But having done the UN before, if you have the region with you and you are a reasonably responsible country, which we have that record, of being more than a responsible country, it should be easy for us to be elected.
We require of course a 2/3 majority. Some work of shepherding countries has to be done. We want to make sure they are there; 2/3 of those present and voting.
We should try not to allow any kind of controversies to surface between now and the actual elections in October. If something should happen, God forbid, that embarrasses us, either of our doing or something happening to us, then people may be put off from spontaneously voting us in. I don't think these things will happen.
Wisma Putra assures me they have properly choreographed the steps that will lead to the election. [According to your book, "A UN Chronicle 1988 - 1998), in 1989 you counted people in the hall, went out and found those who were missing…?] At that time, we didn't have a regional consensus. We came in late. We were guilty of that.
Bangladesh had more or less achieved a kind of consensus although it was not formalised. When we went in, quite a number of countries including then chairman of the Asian region, Saudi Arabia, were pretty annoyed and piqued with us, that we came in rather late.
Nevertheless, we worked hard and the reputation of Malaysia spoke for itself, particularly the personality and performance of Prime Minister [Tun] Dr Mahathir Mohamad meant a lot.
He was already by that time the leader of the developing South. He managed to put out the premise that the problems Malaysia was talking about back then were problems of the South and therefore he was championing the South.