NEW YORK, Sept 24 — Malaysia has proposed to the United Nations (UN) to open a regional office of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in this country in order to accelerate the achievement of sustainable urbanisation goals.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the proposal was made during his meeting with UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres at the UN headquarters here on Saturday.
UN-Habitat is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
“The urbanisation process in Southeast Asia is happening at a fast rate, including the opening of cities. If not taken care of properly, the uncontrolled development of cities will cause severe environmental effects,” he told the Malaysian media here.
However, he said Guterres did not give any commitment because establishing such an office requires many considerations, especially in terms of cost and staffing.
The Prime Minister said the proposal was also discussed with UN-Habitat executive director Datuk Seri Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who is a Malaysian and the first woman in Asia to hold the post.
During his meeting with Guterres, Ismail Sabril once again raised the issue of the body’s transformation and reiterated his call for the UN Security Council’s veto power be abolished or limited.
“The international community expects the UN to act when certain issues are brought to this international body. If it fails, what is the relevance of the UN? For example, there are three resolutions on Palestine but no solution so far,” he said.
He added that Guterres agreed with the call he made in his speech at the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly on Friday to abolish the veto power and find a solution to the Palestine and Myanmar issues.
“In fact, he told me that France agreed for the veto power to be limited,” said Ismail Sabri, who will leave for the United Arab Emirates on Sunday for a four-day working visit starting Monday. — Bernama