Thank you Mr. President,
First of all, I wish to congratulate you, Excellency and the New Zealand delegation for so ably steering the Council’s proceedings and work this month.
2. I am pleased to participate in this very important and timely meeting. We hope it will make a meaningful contribution towards improving the state of global aviation security.
3. In this connection, I thank ICAO Secretary-General, Dr. Fang Liu, for her insightful briefing.
4. The global aviation network is an industry that is vast and growing ever more important everyday. The International Aviation Transport Association (IATA) estimates that there are over 5,000 aircrafts that are flying at any given time, carrying over 8 million people while transporting 140,000 tonnes of cargo daily. Moreover, the aviation industry supports over 57 million jobs and generates $2.2 trillion in economic activity.
5. The global economic benefits and significance to human activity today is enormous. As such, the global aviation industry must be protected by measures for safety and security of its passengers.
6. Malaysia shares the view that the global aviation network is an attractive target for international terrorism. Evidence of this is the sharp increase in attempts to disrupt and threaten civil aviation over the past few years. The cold and calculating logic of the terrorists were clearly evident in the attacks against Brussels International Airport and Ataturk International Airport earlier this year.
7. When their attacks are successful, the consequences are devastating – both in terms of lives lost and undermined public confidence. Taken together, both could entail broader negative consequences. With two back-to-back aviation tragedies, Malaysia is acutely aware of the challenges faced in addressing negative public perception and loss of confidence.
8. Against such background, my delegation concurs that threats posed to aviation security by terrorism constitute threats against international peace and security. Thus, it is right that the Council is seized of this issue. In this connection, I wish to thank the United Kingdom for leading the Council on resolution 2309 just adopted.
9. Malaysia is pleased to support and co-sponsor the resolution as it seeks to establish a better and stronger linkage between Council’s ongoing counter-terrorism work with ICAO’s norm and standard setting work.
10. By enabling such linkages between ICAO and the Security Council, especially its subsidiary bodies including the 1373 Committee and with the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate, we are hopeful that such cooperation and collaboration would over time, result in tangible improvements to global aviation security in all its aspects.
11. At the same time, my delegation believes that resolution 2309 could also inform discussion on possible updates to the Global Aviation Security Plan by the ICAO General Assembly, scheduled to begin early next week.
12. In the span of only 4 months, Malaysia suffered not one but two civil aviation disasters, namely the tragedies of MH 370 and MH 17. These tragedies continue to hang heavy on our hearts as they do on the hearts of the families and loved ones of the victims.
13. These two civil aviation tragedies – while not ostensibly linked to terrorism – do offer some instructive lessons relevant to the aims and objectives of resolution 2309. In this respect, I wish to elaborate on two key observations, with a view to sharing our experience:
14. First, concerns the initial instinct or reflex of civil aviation authorities to investigate and determine – in both cases – whether they were caused by terrorism or other factors.
14.1. In this regard, the immediate provision of expertise and assistance from both States and International Organisations including ICAO in determining probable causes were, in our view, crucial to dispel the notion that either MH370 or MH17 were brought down by acts of terror. Such quick action helped to maintain public perception and confidence.
15. Second, is the need for increased preparedness and prevention capacity:
15.1. Malaysia has introduced new security measures including deployment of hi-tech monitoring systems and additional security personnel across all international airports in Malaysia.
15.2. We have taken steps to improve information and intelligence sharing through deployment of the Advanced Passenger Information System and the Advance Passenger Screening System to provide early warning and curb possible travel of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, in line with the provisions of Resolution 2178.
15.3. We have also strengthened the legal and operational framework by revamping the National Security Council, which has among its core functions, the assessment and monitoring of terrorist threats and activities in the country.
16. I am also pleased to share that the Southeast Asian region through ASEAN is also prioritizing aviation security. The adoption of the ASEAN Transport Strategic Plan 2016-2025, the key regional policy document on aviation security last December 2015, is an example of increased coordination and cooperation in my region on this issue.
17. I wish to also take this opportunity to reassure all concerned that Malaysia – alongside all our partners – remains committed to bringing closure to all outstanding questions on MH 370 and MH 17. We are most grateful for the encouragement and assistance rendered towards this end by all our partners and friends.
18. Specific to MH 17, I wish to reaffirm Malaysia’s commitment to implementing the provisions of Council resolution 2166 and count on the support and cooperation of all concerned partners in this regard.
19. In concluding, I wish to reaffirm Malaysia’s unwavering commitment to combating and eradicating the scourge of terrorism as part of our shared, collective responsibility including through joint, coordinated and concerted efforts at all levels. These efforts must be premised on the full respect of international law including human rights and humanitarian law as well as respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.
Thank you, Mr President.