For six decades, Malaysia has maintained close ties with Palestine and its people. Whether working behind the scenes or standing boldly in the international spotlight, Malaysia has been Palestine’s steadfast ally in its battle for freedom and empowerment.
Now, in another sign of bi-lateral cooperation, a branch of the powerful Al-Quds Foundation has opened in Malaysia. Like its parent organisation, Al-Quds Malaysia is dedicated to fighting for the rights and freedom of Palestinians by providing clean water, medical care and improved educational opportunities.
At the opening reception, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, announced the nation would be working with Al-Quds Malaysia to improve the educational infrastructure in Palestine.
He also offered human resource training in various fields, including administration and banking under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme.
Additionally, the Deputy Prime Minister said he welcomes other partners in this effort, saying, “I hope government linked and private companies and NGOs can assist in this education initiative for the people of Palestine.”
This announcement is not the first time Malaysia has made a commitment to Palestinian schools. Last year, through the programme Viva Palestine, Malaysia funded educational projects in eleven schools in Jaballia, North Gaza.
Closer to home, many young Palestinians are students throughout Malaysia’s university system, and some are recipients of government scholarships created to help attract and retain bright international students to our nation.
Malaysia has been unwavering in its support of Palestine and has never had diplomatic ties with Israel. This is in contrast to the now-famous incident in which de facto Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was quoted in the Wall Street Journal boasting that he “supports all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”
When this gaffe hit the press, it provoked a backlash of condemnation among the rakyat and raised the ire of the international diplomatic community.
One of those diplomats, provoked by his ill chosen words, was the Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Abdelaziz Abughoush.
The Ambassador retorted by saying, “Palestine is the core issue for all the Muslim Ummah, and as such it is strange and weird to have such a statement from a Malaysian Muslim leader. Malaysia is a pioneer in supporting the Palestinian people and their just cause.”
It is odd that Anwar, a politician, didn’t recognize the volatility of his words, as even Malaysian youths are increasingly aware of the Palestinian issue.
Last month, around 15,000 young people took part in a rally called the Global March to Jerusalem (MyGMJ) to free Jerusalem and Palestine without war.
Malaysia is one of 131 countries supporting that movement and the Deputy Prime Minister, speaking at the Al-Quds Malaysia event, said the best outcome to ensure sustained peace throughout the region would be achieved by peaceful negotiations.