Malaysia to go ahead with CHOGM

COLOMBO - Malaysia will still take part in Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) despite calls to boycott the summit by certain quarters who have questioned Sri Lanka's human right records.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the Government took note of the opposing views but stressed it was the prerogative of the Government to decide whether to attend the summit, which begins tomorrow.

"We have taken note of opposing voices but we have to look at the bigger picture of the benefits (of CHOGM) and see how the reconciliatory process is going on in Sri Lanka," he told reporters here yesterday.

Anifah was asked on calls by certain quarters in the country pressuring Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to forgo CHOGM in light of Canada and India's decision not to participate in the event.

He also said Malaysia would be able to contribute towards international security by promoting moderation via its Global Movements of Moderates, which is in line with the aim set during CHOGM in Australia two years ago.

"We look forward to continue working together with our Commonwealth partners to promote moderation as an approach to tackle global challenges and threats to international peace and security.

"We believe that whatever the conflict, it should be settled through moderation and dialogue," he added.

He said Najib's attendance and active participation in CHOGM was very significant also as the country would be able to share its experience as Malaysia strives towards the high-income and advanced nation status by 2020.

"At the same time, we can learn from other Commonwealth countries on ways and means that could contribute to improving our efforts to achieve Vision 2020," he said.

Anifah also said Malaysia was ready to host CHOGM in 2019.

He added that Najib, who will be accompanied by Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, will also attend a dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and a state banquet by Sri Lanka's president.

CHOGM is a voluntary association comprising 53 former British territories with a population of 2.1 billion.