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News & Analysis

Malaysia Calls For Overhaul Of The Security Council Amid Gaza Genocide

Brecht Jonkers

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

Malaysia’s representative to the United Nations took to the stage on March 9 and offered a proposal to overhaul the UN Security Council. It could be considered both daring as well as entirely logical and rational in the context of present-day realities, especially amid the ongoing zionist genocide in Gaza.

“Malaysia holds the position that the exercise of the veto by permanent members of the Security Council should be regulated to prohibit it from being used unjustifiably or abused by permanent members against the wishes of the majority of member states,” Malaysia’s UN Representative Ahmad Faisal bin Muhammad told the assembly.

The timing of the Malaysian representative bringing up such a fundamental topic regarding a foundational element of UN operations since its inception in 1945 is not coincidental. The ongoing genocide in Gaza and the plethora of zionist crimes against the people of Palestine are clearly the immediate catalysts for this call.

This is made abundantly clear by the follow-up of the speech, in which Ahmad Faisal called for crimes against humanity and genocide to be entirely exempted from a UN veto.

Malaysia has always been a keen supporter of the Palestinian cause and ardent opponent of the zionist entity. It has also repeatedly condemned western powers for their continued shielding of Tel Aviv from any repercussions for its criminal acts.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had slammed the US in December 2023 for its “outrageous decision” to veto a Gaza ceasefire motion at the UN Security Council. The zionist entity actually tried to foment relations with Malaysia originally, being a vocal backer of Malaysian independence and membership of the United Nations in 1957. The newly independent kingdom, however, quickly made clear it had no inclination to recognise the entity’s existence as legitimate.

Malaysian support for Palestine has extended beyond the purely diplomatic sphere. Kuala Lumpur has also been a long-time backer of the Palestinian resistance directly. Malaysia maintains direct contacts with the Palestinian political and resistance movement Hamas, and recognises the Hamas-dominated leadership of Gaza as the legitimate and elected authority over the Gaza Strip. In fact, then Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Tun Razak was one of the first foreign political leaders to visit Gaza following the Hamas electoral victory in 2007.

It is no secret that Hamas members and even leading officials regularly visit or even stay in Malaysia for extended periods of time. In 2018, Palestinian scientist Fadi al-Batsh was assassinated in broad daylight by a team of Mossad hitmen in the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. In a subsequent eulogy, Hamas confirmed that al-Batsh had been a member of the resistance movement, a fact that most likely was known to the Malaysian government. Suffice to say that Malaysia takes its support for Palestine and the Palestinian resistance seriously.

However, the Malaysian call in the UN meeting went further than merely an ad hoc response to continued abuse of power by the United States of their veto power to shield the zionist entity. As representative Ahmad Faisal said, Malaysia holds the opinion that the UN Security Council veto should be curtailed significantly in general. The proposal is that a veto would only be considered in effect if at least two of the permanent five (P5) members of the Security Council (US, UK, France, China, Russia) jointly use the power, and only if being backed by at least three of the non-permanent member states (which are elected at a regional basis for a period of two years).

This would de facto eliminate the individual veto power of the P5 and force them to find allies or negotiate agreements in order to veto a Security Council decision. Especially if the following suggestion by the Malaysian ambassador is followed as well: the demand that even after a double P5 veto and three non-permanent member approvals, it would still need to be approved by a simple majority of the UN General Assembly. In other words, by a vote of all United Nations member states.

It could be argued that such a democratic debate and vote would actually serve the official reason of existence of the UN better than the present system in place.

The reason to put an end to the unilateral use of the veto is clear. The United States in particular has clung to its veto in the UNSC especially fiercely since the large wave of decolonisation across Africa and Asia in the 1960s and 1970s. The dozens of newly independent states that shook off the European colonial yoke often were far less inclined to vote according to US designs than their former overlords, which was particularly influential if that overlord used to be P5 member state France or Britain.

Washington has been particularly zealous in vetoing resolutions whenever it comes to defending zionism, using its veto power a total of 46 times in Tel Aviv’s defence until December 2023. Since then, another instance has been added to this shameful legacy when the American delegation vetoed, yet again, a resolution on February 20, 2024.

Aside from shielding the zionists from bearing any responsibility for their crimes, the three western permanent five Security Council members have also made ample use of their veto in order to uphold their colonial empire and legacy. Britain, the US and France have at various times enthusiastically used this power to defend Apartheid in places like Rhodesia and South Africa. Paris used its veto to try to keep hold of its imperial territories in the Comoros, while the UK blocked further discussion on the status of the Malvinas (or Falkland Islands) during the conflict with Argentina in 1982. Washington shielded itself from any consequences on the international stage following its 1983 invasion of Grenada and the years of direct involvement in Nicaragua. The list goes on…

The fact remains that the UNSC veto, more often than not, is basically a weapon in the hands of a select group of powerful countries to defend their interests. Although China, for example, has defended its usefulness in “checking the instinct of war”, the fact remains that this usually only applies to the “smaller states”. No UN veto stopped the US invasion of Iraq or Libya. The UN veto power didn’t prevent the horrible suffering of Yemen. And, while Russia and China have asserted their vetoes in order to prevent the west from using the UN as a vehicle for the destruction of Syria, this has not prevented the continued occupation of parts of the country by US troops to this day.

The Non-Aligned Movement and the African Union have repeatedly called for the limitation of this powerful tool in the hands of the P5. In fact, significant questions could be asked about the make-up and role of the Security Council in general. The fact that post-colonial France and Britain have a seat at the highest body of international diplomacy but other equally deserving countries especially from Africa are left out. This clearly points to the outdated nature of the institution.

Perhaps the future of UN diplomacy in an increasingly decentralized and multipolar world order lies in the concluding words of Malaysian representative Ahmad Faisal Muhammad: “In the long run, we believe that the veto has no place in a modern and democratic multilateral architecture.”

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 54, No. 2

Ramadan 22, 14452024-04-01

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