PETALING JAYA: Holding a Jerusalem solidarity rally is good but concrete steps still need to be taken to help the Palestinian cause, a former diplomat said today.
Redzuan Kushairi said Prime Minister Najib Razak deserved the backing of all Malaysians on the matter, including having East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and standing up to any “bullying” by US President Donald Trump.
“I think it is good to have such a solidarity march and for good reason. Malaysia’s foreign policy must be based on principles and protection of our core values.
“I have said before that foreign policy begins at home. But for certain international issues involving important principles of justice, Malaysia must stick together with those who stand for justice, no matter what position a superpower takes,” he told FMT today.
Redzuan, a former Malaysian ambassador to Uzbekistan, was commenting on the significance of the gathering held after Friday prayers at the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya today.
About 2,000 people took part in the “Save Jerusalem” rally to protest Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by establishing the US embassy there, instead of in Tel Aviv.
Redzuan said Putrajaya needed to review its relations with Trump and the US under his rule, “not only in our bilateral relations, but in the bigger context of global geopolitics, including in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East”.
He said it was not enough for Najib to just say that he would not forsake or compromise on the sanctity of Islam despite his good relations with Trump.
“We have no problems with the American people and the US in general. It is just that Trump is a serious problem to his country, people and the world,” Redzuan said.
“I think it is a good thing for Najib to reaffirm that Malaysia stands by its principles in the conduct of Malaysia’s foreign relations, despite the relations with Trump and the fact that the US is a superpower.
“But still overall, there is a need to reassess relations with Trump and a Trump-led America,” he added.
Najib and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang were supposed to have shared the stage together, but Hadi was replaced by his son, Khalil Abdul Hadi, who is also PAS Youth chief.
Following closer ties between PAS and Umno, leaders from both parties have agreed to set aside their political differences to work together on issues affecting Muslims.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had arrived to perform Friday prayers at the same mosque, did not take part in the rally.
Hours earlier, the PPBM chairman had written on his blog that the solidarity shown by Umno and PAS on the Jerusalem issue was meaningless unless it “results in the BN government acting against Donald Trump and the United States”.