Mahathir on why UN must reform veto powers

NEW YORK • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he hoped to shame the powerful countries in the United Nations into agreeing to reform their outdated veto powers in the world body.

Tun Dr Mahathir said the powerful countries should be told that they cannot urge regime change in other countries when they will not even provide for some democracy in the world body.

"It's not a nice thing, it's hypocritical. On the one hand you say they all must be democratic, you cause regime change and lots of civil wars in order to achieve democracy.

"But here (in the UN) all you have to do is to give up your veto power but they are not happy to do so," Dr Mahathir said at a media conference at the UN headquarters after delivering his address to the UN General Assembly last Friday.

He was responding to a question on what he hoped would come from his call for the UN veto system to be reformed, since his previous calls for such a reform had not yielded the desired results.

Dr Mahathir said he had suggested that the veto should not be by just one permanent member but by at least two powers backed by three non-permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly should then back the decision with a simple majority.

In his UN General Assembly address, Dr Mahathir had called for an end to the dominance in the world body of the five permanent members of the Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, with each having veto powers.

Dr Mahathir said he had suggested that the veto should not be by just one permanent member but by at least two powers backed by three non-permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly should then back the decision with a simple majority.

The Malaysian Prime Minister had made a similar suggestion when he last addressed the UN General Assembly in 2003.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 30, 2018, with the headline 'Mahathir on why UN must reform veto powers'. Print Edition | Subscribe