Malaysian foreign minister supports a UN Parliamentary Assembly

17. October 2022

In an article published on Friday in the Malaysian newspaper Sinar Harian, the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Saifuddin bin Abdullah, expressed his support for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA).

The Foreign Minister posted an English translation on his Twitter channel. In the piece, he reports on his participation in a recent meeting in New York organized by the Bahá’í International Community, Democracy Without Borders, CIVICUS and the Coalition for the UN We Need. The event brought together representatives of civil society and UN ambassadors for an exchange on proposals as to how to achieve better democratic representation and participation at the UN. Civil society representatives emphasized that the upcoming UN Summit of the Future is an opportunity to make progress in this area.

In his article, the foreign minister refers to his intervention in which he said that “the UN today is unable to deal with two clusters of the world’s main challenges, that is, the habits and behavior of the great powers and three current developments, that is the man-made climate crisis, the advent of technology that is beneficial but also brings negative effects and lastly, unfair international architectures.” He further reiterates “Malaysia’s position that the UN needs to be reformed”, adding that he supports the creation of a UNPA, a position he announced live at the event and later on Twitter.

In Saifuddin’s words, the UNPA proposal stems “from the dissatisfaction of the people and their elected representatives who are disconnected and denied real roles with intergovernmental platforms and international institutions, to the extent that the two fora’s legitimacy is questioned, hence becoming inefficient.”

He continues that the UNPA’s goal is “to reduce the global democratic deficit by involving the people and giving them a voice, i.e., through their members of parliament in the global decision-making process.” The foreign minister suggests in the article that “since the establishment of UNPA takes time, then, I state that the people of the world cannot wait. We need to start a ‘pilot’, that is with a gathering of civil society and members of parliament in conjunction with the 2023 SDG Summit and the 2024 Summit of the Future.”

Read the full article on the blog of Democracy Without Borders here

Image: Mr. Dato' Saifuddin bin Abdullah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, addresses the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 26 February 2019. UN Photo by Violaine Martin/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0