Malaysian PM Mahathir hopes to shame superpowers into reforming UN veto powers

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad called for an end to the dominance in the United Nations of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he hoped to shame the powerful countries in the United Nations into agreeing to reform their outdated veto powers in the UN.

Tun Dr Mahathir said the powerful countries should be told that they cannot urge regime change in other countries when they won't 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 United Nations headquarters after delivering his address the UN general assembly on Friday (Sept 28).

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 a reform of the veto system had not yielded the desired results.

In his address at the UN general assembly, Dr Mahathir had called for an end to the dominance in the world body of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, Britain and the US, which 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 Prime Minister had made a similar suggestion when he last addressed the UN general assembly in 2003.

On another issue, when asked to described Malaysia's policy on the South China Sea, Dr Mahathir replied: "We are not participating in any dispute between any country. As far as we are concerned, if the South China Sea as well as the Straits of Malacca are open, including passage of warships, but not to be stationed in that area, that's fine by us."

Dr Mahathir said that since Malaysia was a trading nation, it needed ships to transport its goods to and from the country and other parts of South-East Asia.

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