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10TH ASEAN MINISTERIAL MEETING ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME AND THE SPECIAL ASEAN MINISTERIAL MEETING ON THE RISE OF RADICALISATION AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM

OPENING SPEECH BY

THE HON. DATO SERI DR. AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

CUM MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, MALAYSIA

AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE

10TH ASEAN MINISTERIAL MEETING

ON TRANSNATIONAL CRIME

AND THE

SPECIAL ASEAN MINISTERIAL MEETING

ON THE RISE OF RADICALISATION AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM

29 SEPTEMBER 2015

 

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1.First and foremost, I would like to welcome the AMMTC Leaders and delegations to Kuala Lumpur for the convening of the 10th AMMTC and its related Meetings. Malaysias hosting of the 10th AMMTC becomes more significant for this year because it coincides with Malaysias Chairmanship of ASEAN for 2015. We should congratulate ourselves for ensuring the regular congregation of ASEAN Ministers in charge of transnational crime is being held biennially that shows the regional seriousness and strong determination to address transnational crime issues besides reflecting the close bond among the Ministers.

2.I also would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to Lao PDR as the current AMMTC Chairman for their leadership in steering this Meeting for the last two years. My appreciation also goes to the ASEAN Secretariat for their continuous support and assistance in ensuring the smooth running of previous AMMTC Meetings including the proceedings of the 10th AMMTC.

3.Transnational crime is a phenomenon which essentially involves movement of people across borders, trans-border financial transactions including involvement of transnational organised crime syndicates. Transnational crime has grave implications on the stability, security, sovereignty and public order of individual nations.

4.It affects the very fabric of our societies at all levels, so much so that it has been argued that the struggle against organized and transnational crime will be the defining security concern of the twenty-first century. ASEAN has long recognized such threats and has taken immediate measures as well as concerted efforts to combat it since the early 70s. It is much more crucial at this stage because we are at the dawn of implementing the ASEAN Community by the end of this year.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

5.As I mentioned much earlier that the element of transnational crime is closely linked to the movement of people across borders in which the great challenge would be in the form of addressing irregular movement of persons. This issue continues to be one of the main security threats in the region for quite a period and it reaches the critical level during the middle of this year as well as impacted a few ASEAN Member countries including Malaysia following the sudden influx of the irregular migrants. On this backdrop, Malaysia had to convene the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime concerning Irregular Movement of Persons in Southeast Asia in July this year to find a durable solutions to this issue.

6.In addition to its linkages with movement of people across borders, we also have to confront the rapid progress and evolution of transnational crime. In the present inter-connected world, transnational organized crime has gone global and reached macro-economic proportions. Illicit goods can now be sourced from one continent, trafficked across another, and sold in third countries. These organized transnational crime continues to adapt alongside the frenetic pace of our times, as new crimes emerge, arise and maintained through relationships between criminal networks on global level.

7.Hence, we are now at a critical juncture to decide whether we want to retain the status quo namely dealing with the eight (8) existing areas of transnational crime that come under our purview including the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC). A bold decision has to be made due to new types of transnational crimes as reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that among others would include illicit trades of nature and cultural heritage, illegal wildlife trade, illicit trade in wood-based products, illicit trade in electrical and electronic waste or e-waste, illicit trade in ozone-depleting substances, counterfeit consumer goods and trades of fraudulent essential medicines.

8.We are taking the steps in the right direction to counter this development through the proposal to adopt and sign the Kuala Lumpur Declaration in Combatting Transnational Crime during the 10th AMMTC. The Declaration among others has highlighted issues that need to be seriously considered by the Ministers such as the emergence of the new forms of transnational crime including the call for the formulation of a new ASEAN Plan of Actions to Combat Transnational Crime since the previous plan was adopted in 2002. As all ASEAN Member States are the signatory to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC), therefore it calls for readiness on our part to embrace changes that will take place in the new future in terms of the emergence of new forms of transnational crime.

9.The establishment of the ASEAN Community at the end of the year warrants us to be more resilient, adequately prepared, adopting holistic and comprehensive measures as well as utilising technological advancement to effectively address the existing threats posed by transnational crime as well as emergence of new forms of transnational crime towards the maintenance and preservation of the security and stability in the region. We must strongly bear this in mind since the AMMTC is the important component of the ASEAN Political Security Committee (APSC) that supports the realisation of the ASEAN Community besides the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

10.The 10th AMMTC is historic and unprecedented with the holding of a back to back gathering of the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism on 2 October 2015. To date, this is the one and only regional Meeting that will focus on the aspects of radicalisation and violent extremism in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2178 adopted in New York in September 2014. This Resolution calls for collective and concerted efforts to address radicalisation and violent extremism following the threats posed by the Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs).

11.Following the passing of the UNSC Resolution 2178, inaugural Summit had taken place in Washington in February this year and similar forums and summits were held worldwide in Sydney, Norway, Rome, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mauritania, Algeria and Albania. Even a Leaders Summit on Countering Violent Extremism was held on the side line of the United Nations General Assembly on 28 September 2015. In our case, it is better to be late than never to galvanise regional efforts to address this issue.

12.The said Meeting on 2nd October 2015 will afford the opportunity for ASEAN Member States to share experiences and best practices as well as to take stock of individual countries challenges in countering radicalisation and violent extremism. We need to realise that law enforcement and stringent legislations are insufficient to dwell with it in which strategic partnerships and outreach programmes need to be regularly conducted that draw participations from civil societies and private sectors.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

13.On a final note, I wish that all of us would have intensive deliberations and interactions at both Meetings that would be of benefits to all Delegates. Additionally, we must also find the opportunity to strengthen our bond and working relations on the side-lines of both Meetings to establish efficient channel of communications either formally or informally. With that, I officially declare the opening of the 10th AMMTC and its Related Meetings and the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism.

Thank you.

Agencies |

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