US urging more partner nations to be involved in Pacific Partnership

The 103m-long Spearhead-class, semi planning catamaran the USNS Fall River at Pending Port.

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, April 11: US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir would like more partner nations to join in the Pacific Partnership exercises held in the region annually.

She said this was to make it more ‘complicated’, whereby it would not only improve communications between the allied military of the partner nations but also improve response time in case any of the partner or allied nations would need assistance, particularly in times of disaster and emergencies.

“One of the things I’ve said to my colleagues (US military) is that each year, we should build on the successes of the year before, and we should think about how to make it more complicated and integrate more partners, whether its more Malaysian NGOs, more local authorities, because in a true disaster and emergency, for example, the media have a very important role to play.

“Our goal is to make it more complicated and to include more people that would be part of the disaster response. I think that this is something all of us have to build up year by year.

“I always want to include more partner nations to make it more multilateral so that the Malaysian military and our partner militaries have closer networks and friendships,” Lakhdhir told reporters after the closing ceremony of Pacific Partnership 2019 at the Pending Port here this afternoon on board USNS Fall River.

On that, she thanked the Malaysian army and the state government, including the various NGOs, that were involved in the 12-day disaster and emergency mission exercise that concluded last Saturday.

Lakhdhir (right) speaking to reporters as Dr Rundi (centre) and Suhaimi (left) listen in.

Meanwhile, the Joint Force Commander of the Malaysian Army, Lt Jen Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Zuki thanked the US military and the US government for their willingness to collaborate and share resources in the Pacific Partnership 2019, not just participating in the disaster and emergency training exercise but also doing humanitarian work in the state.

One of their most commendable work was building classrooms for dilapidated schools, especially SK Sebandi Matang in Kota Samarahan, last week.

“It may not be much, but their gesture reflected very well to the students, showing the students that regardless of our backgrounds and nations, we worked together and helped each other,” said Suhaimi.

Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, meanwhile, welcomed the US Military to come to Sarawak again in the near future and assured the state government’s support to it as well as the US government.

“I invite you to come again and go to the most interior part of Sarawak next time. I must say that the state government will give you full support in your humanitarian works here, like building classrooms.

“In Sarawak, we have hundreds of rural schools, where about 70 per cent of them are dilapidated.

“Although in a small way, it is the spirit of humanitarian that you have shown, that is important,” he said. — DayakDaily