Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has revealed that China has given assurances that it will continue negotiations with Southeast Asian nations regarding territorial disputes in the South China Sea and will avoid actions that could escalate tensions. Anwar disclosed this information in an interview with CNN, during which he stated that Chinese Premier Li Qiang provided a “clear and categorical” commitment to negotiating and refraining from actions that could lead to discord with regional neighbors.
China recently released a map featuring a “10-dash line,” which was viewed as an expansion of its territorial claims in the disputed waters. Malaysia and several other Southeast Asian countries rejected the map.
Anwar emphasized Malaysia’s concern over escalating tensions, particularly in light of China’s efforts to assert sovereignty claims over Taiwan. He urged both parties to avoid unnecessary provocations that could destabilize the region.
The prime minister also addressed concerns raised about his commitment to democratic reforms, citing actions such as dropping corruption cases against allies, filing sedition charges against opposition leaders, and increasing scrutiny of Malaysia’s LGBTQ community. Anwar stated that he would not interfere in decisions made by Malaysia’s attorney general and called for the respect of laws against seditious remarks involving the country’s monarchy.
While reiterating that Malaysia does not accept LGBTQ rights, Anwar advocated against harassment of the LGBTQ community. He expressed disapproval of the government’s decision to ban Swatch watches celebrating the Pride movement, acknowledging that such actions could be considered excessive. Malaysia’s home ministry had confiscated and banned the sale of rainbow-colored watches from Swatch’s ‘Pride collection,’ citing concerns about morality and public interest.
Anwar’s comments highlight the complex challenges facing Malaysia’s leadership in balancing domestic issues, international relations, and democratic values.