NEW YORK, September 21 -- As the high-profile Malaysian delegation led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrives to address the 69th United Nations (UN) General Assembly session, two issues will invariably, figure prominently in much of the debates.
The two are the atrocities committed by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 aircraft in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The downing of the MH17 aircraft, by default, will also turn attention to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the threat posed by Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Australia has been "actively affected" by the two issues, as one Australian official told Bernama on condition of anonymity. According to United States sources, there has been an informal "division of labour" drawn out between the US and Australia.
While the US is coordinating with Arab countries and its traditional Western allies to form a coalition to combat the Islamic state menace, Australian interlocutors have started meeting counterparts from a number of Southeast Asian countries, particularly the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to work out a strategy to counter their threat.
About 40 Malaysians, including ex-ISA detainees, have gone to the war zone in Syria to fight where multiple factions are vying for supremacy.