Sharing the exploration of the natural resources
Malaysia has proposed the setting up of a special purpose vehicle for the sharing of economic activities among the claimant countries in the South China Sea.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had suggested that the countries concerned create multilateral discussions rather than bilateral talks.
“If we may translate the suggestion, we would like to explore the natural resources, in particular hydro carbon, to be shared among the claimant countries.
“A special purpose vehicle can be created to share not only in terms of equity participation but also in terms of sharing the exploration of the natural resources,” he said at the question-and-answer session on the final day of the 10th IISS Asia Security Summit – The Shangri-La Dialogue, here, Sunday.
Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all have a stake on the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Of these countries, only Brunei lacks a military presence in the area.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said: “Our key performance index is not based on how many wars we are going to win but how many wars or crises we are going to avoid.”So our role is basically to avoid the crises, the wars or even the battles.
“In this case, dialogues, especially multilateral dialogues, are of utmost importance “for us to resolve some of the problems as suggested by China’s Minister of National Defence, Gen Liang Guanglie, and (Malaysian) PM Najib.”
Dr Ahmad Zahid pointed that the second issue was on the territorial rights.”We are facing territorial rights problems, not so much on disunity but mainly due to the economic values (attached) to it,” he said.
He said: “We had problems with our neighbours due to fisheries activities.Citing a problem between fishermen and enforcement officers, Dr Ahmad Zahid said that “jokingly a friend was telling me that no visa or passport is needed for the fishes to cross the borders.
“The fishermen will follow where the fishes go and, in this case, I think what we should do is more towards sharing the economic activities rather than taking a hard line in resolving the problems,” he said.
According to him, Indonesia and Malaysia, for instance, were using their standard operating procedures to resolve the problems between their fishermen.
He said this had taken place following the political commitment by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Najib for their countries to share the natural resources rather than create unnecessary problems.