A Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) delegation consists of the Chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail, the CEO Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah and External Relations Director Mr. Wan Mohd Azri Wan Ja’afar conducted a working visit to Europe on 22-26 September 2014.
The GMM delegation was supported by the Malaysian Mission in Brussels, namely H.E. Dato’ Zainuddin Yahya, the Ambassador of Malaysia to the Kingdom of Belgium & Luxembourg and Head of Malaysian Mission to the European Union, Mr. Zainal Izran Zahari, the Deputy Chief of Mission/Minister and Mrs. Nurriha Ahmad, First Secretary. The delegation was also joined by Ms. Ng Yeen Seen, the Senior Vice President of ASLI.
22-23 SEPTEMBER 2014 – EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND EUROPEAN EXTERNAL ACTION SERVICE
The programme began with a tour of the European Parliament and a briefing session on its functions and authorities. It was followed with a luncheon attended by two members of the European Parliament representing the House Delegation for South East Asia and the ASEAN countries, namely Roger Helmer, a member of Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group, and Richard Ashworth, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. Also present were two ASEAN Ambassadors, namely H.E. Dato’ Serbini Haji Ali, the Ambassador of Brunei, and H.E. Mr. Ong Eng Chuan, the Ambassador of Singapore.
The delegates continued with a courtesy call on European External Action Service (EEAS) that serves as the foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union. Two meetings took place at the EEAS office.
The first meeting was held with Mr. Ugo Astuto, the Director for South and South East Asia, Mr. Raneiri Sabatucci, the Head of SEA Division, and Mr. Franck-Olivier Roux, the Desk Officer for Malaysia. The discussions began with an introduction on the concept of GMM espoused by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and highlighted that moderation is broader than just religion, therefore it overs a whole spectrum of issues. This includes a greater role anticipated by GMM in supporting the realisation of the ASEAN’s objectives when Malaysia assumes the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015. The EEAS side highly recommended a regional exchange programme that is similar to Erasmus (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) to encourage the real exchange of people within the ASEAN countries.
The second meeting was with Mr. Silvio Gonzato, the Director for Human Rights and Democracy, Ms. Rhoda Anette Mandler, the Head of Human Rights Division, Mr. Christian Behrmann and Mr. Jean-Bernard Bolvin, both are the Policy Officer. GMM pushed the moderation agenda by mentioning that human rights should be promoted in the spirit of moderation. Moderation is closely related to tolerance and hence the former is a stepping stone towards achieving equal human rights in the region. It was also explained that GMM has been actively promoting human rights as demonstrated by its cooperation with the European Union on its recent consultation on “Promotion and Protection of Religion or Belief in ASEAN” which was held in Kuala Lumpur.
24TH SEPTEMBER 2014 – PARIS, FRANCE
The GMM delegation departed Brussels for Paris via train, and made a courtesy call on the Malaysian Ambassador to Paris, H.E. Tan Sri Ismail Omar at his official residence ‘Rumah Malaysia’.
It was followed by a roundtable discussion at IRIS – Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques. Themed “Multi-Lateral Institutions to address issues of Governance that affect Non-Traditional Security”, the roundtable was aimed at exploring the rapidly transforming demographics in Asia and Europe which presents various challenges to governance and security threats that may affect the stability of both regions.
25-26 SEPTEMBER 2014 – WORLD MUSLIM LEADERSHIP FORUM
The GMM delegates departed for London the same evening to attend the World Muslim Leadership Forum (WMLF) the following morning. Tan Sri Razali was invited to deliver a speech on his thoughts on the WMLF titled, “Global Leadership Issues and Contemporary Challenges for the Muslim World”. Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah delivered the keynote speech on the second day of the WMLF titled, “The Important Role of Moderates in Promoting Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Harmony”. Among those present at the forum included Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP, the former Attorney General, Dr Rafik Abdesselam, the Former Foreign Minister of Tunisia, Lord Sheikh and Baroness Uddin.
25 SEPTEMBER 2014 – MEETING WITH THE STUDENTS IN UK
Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah met with members of the United Kingdom and Eire Malaysian Law Students Union (UKMLSU).
26 SEPTEMBER 2014 – MALAYSIA FOCUS FORUM, LIMKOKWING UNIVERSITY LONDON
Tan Sri Razali Ismail delivered a keynote address on “Malaysia’s Foreign Policy Challenges & Priorities: Towards Malaysia’s 2015 Chairmanship of ASEAN and Election to the UN Security Council”. Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah also delivered his thoughts on “The New Politics in Malaysia” regarding the aftermath of the 12th and 13th General Elections in 2008 and 2013 respectively, whereby the political landscape in Malaysia has changed. The two-party system is now entrenched paving way for the rise of new politics.
26 SEPTEMBER 2014 – HIGH COMMISSION OF MALAYSIA IN UK
Tan Sri Razali Ismail called on H.E. Dato’ Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, the High Commissioner of Malaysia in UK at the High Commissioner’s office. Also present at the briefing were senior government officials and students from the UMNO Club.