Malaysia and UAE Shares Best Government Practices Handling COVID-19 In Rabdan Academy Webinar

Malaysia and UAE Shares Best Government Practices Handling COVID-19 In Rabdan Academy Webinar

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
10
th August 2020 — The Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), under the
Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with Rabdan Academy, a
leading educational institution specializing security, defense, and emergency
preparedness, in United Arab Emirates (UAE) organized a virtual conference of
knowledge sharing in the best practices of the experience of both countries in
curbing the spread of COVID-19. The conference covered three major themes;
policing system, healthcare and international relations followed by a Q and A
session. The conference also highlights the bilateral cooperation and
diplomatic relation between Malaysia and UAE.

Keynote speakers include
DCP Dato’ Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf, Secretary of Royal Malaysia Police, Colonel
Abdulrahman Ali Al Mansouri, Director General of Ministry Affairs at the
Ministry of Interior, Dr. Wan Noraini binti Wan Mohamed Noor, Head of
Surveillance Sector, Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia,
Dr. Farida Al Hosani is the Official spokesperson for the health care sector in
the UAE, Manager of communicable Diseases Department, Abu Dhabi Center of
Public Health, Datuk Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah, Chief of Protocol cum Head of
COVID-19 Task Force, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Al-Qurtasi, Director
of Operations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation.

Opening the session,
Dato Kamaruddin said in his speech, “This initiative is an impetus for
meaningful future relations and deeper cooperation between the two countries.
The takeaway from the session would be crucial to both sides in preparation of
any or similar circumstances, moving forward. We hope this will pave the way
for more similar collaborations between Malaysia and the UAE.”

His Excellency Sultan
Mohammed Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister for International Development Affairs at
(MoFAIC) said in his opening remark, “The UAE was one of the first countries to
reach out and extend a hand of assistance to more than 100 countries. Early on
in the crisis, the UAE launched numerous humanitarian initiatives to help curb
the spread of the virus. In a short period, the UAE has provided more than
1,279 tonnes of medical aid through 149 medical flights carrying testing kits,
masks, and personnel protective equipment to 107 countries to date, with direct
beneficiaries exceeding 1.28 million healthcare workers worldwide.”

His Excellency mentions
that the UAE has a strong historical relationship with Malaysia and he stresses
the need to move forward together and to share expertise and knowledge on best
practices facing not just this pandemic but also future crises. The existing
collaboration is important and strengthens the international relations between
both countries to face this challenge. Another important factor is the
strategic locations of both countries and the strong infrastructure helped in
managing to not stop the supply chain, food and medical equipment.

Speaking on the close relation between the two
countries, Khalid Ghanem Al Ghaith, UAE Ambassador to Malaysia, said, “Malaysia
and UAE share a high level of cooperation through knowledge sharing on
combating COVID-19 in each country. For example, in terms of aid, UAE has
donated medical assistance to Malaysia in the form of 20,000 test kits and
masks whereas Malaysia in turn donated food supplies to the UAE. Our
cooperation emphasised the need for global cooperation and the need to exchange
learnings in combating COVID-19.” 

“COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented global
situation and is one of a kind crisis. Inevitably there is an impact on
Malaysia’s economic front due to containment and movement control orders
imposed by the country. Because of this, the Malaysian government has launched
several economic plans to help the people as well as Small Medium Enterprises
(SMEs). On this note, our strong relationship with the UAE has helped to learn
and improve our strategies when faced with a health crisis like COVID-19. ”
said Mohd Tarid Sufian, Malaysian Ambassador to UAE

Dr. Faisal Al-Ayyan, Vice President of Rabdan
Academy said, “The cooperation between Rabdan Academy and the Malaysian
Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations is a reflection of the level of
bilateral relations between the UAE and Malaysia, especially in facing the
challenges of Covid 19. The two friendly countries form a strategic depth for
each other extending from East Asia to the heart of the Middle East. The
cooperation covers several areas, such as food security, trade, economic and
cultural exchange. We hope to continue this cooperation with our Malaysian
partners.”

The focus of Policing
system in addressing COVID-19 pandemic

The issue of policing
was discussed by Colonel Abdulrahman Ali Al Mansouri, Director General of
Ministry Affairs at the Ministry of Interior and DCP Dato’ RamlI Mohamed Yoosuf
Secretary of Royal Malaysia Police. As both countries’ governments declared
nationwide lockdowns that resulted in the shut down of non-essential
businesses, both countries shared how law enforcement officers operate and
enforce law and order as well as dispersing crowds and gatherings. 

Spokespersons from both
countries agreed that government policies related to COVID-19 should be clearly
communicated to all local law enforcement officers. Local law enforcement
leaders should clearly establish how officers are to interact with the
community and enforce the rules. Officers should be prepared to answer
questions about testing kit availability, travel restrictions, quarantine and
isolation, and personal safety measures (including who the public should call
for such information). 

Both countries spoke on
how the role of law enforcement should be focused on informing the public about
the current restrictions and encouraging individuals to comply with the state
and local emergency health declarations.  

The focus of the health
system in responding to COVID-19 pandemic

On the discussion
regarding the health system of both countries in responding to the COVID-19,
Dr. Farida Al Hosani the official spokesperson for the health care sector in
the UAE praised the strategic relations between Malaysia and UAE in producing
successful efforts and responses in containing the spread of COVID-19. 

Dr. Farida said, “The
number of test has been done so far is more than 5 million tests and this is an
average of 530 thousand per 100 thousand populations, which is around 50% of
the UAE populations have been already tested we are also one of the least
countries in terms of death, the case fatality rate less than 0.4% .“

“UAE have been ranked as
one of the top countries in terms of COVID-19 response safety and also it was
praised by WHO’s experts in terms of handling COVID-19 response, in addition
the handling of testing the populations access to test, also the UAE ranked one
of the top three countries in the world, and we are looking forward for more
collaboration with Malaysian government in the future. Learning from each other
will enable us to succeed in any future challenge. We are very pleased that
Malaysia and UAE are in such a positive collaborative partnership.”

Malaysia’s
representative, Dr. Wan Noraini binti Wan Mohamed Noor, Head of Surveillance
Sector, Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia, said that the
UAE, being a global hub like Hong Kong and Singapore, is beginning to reveal
itself as a pragmatic and effective leader in combating the virus. Given
Dubai’s nature as a global hub for finance, tech, and travel, there are larger
stakes at play.

Additionally, Dr. Wan
Noraini praised the country’s technology sector as proving useful as Emirati
company Group 42 (G42) has been tackling the outbreak head-on. She highlighted
the UAE’s plan to leverage existing artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud
computing technology to prevent the virus from spreading and to ensure medical
supplies reach the areas where they are most needed. 

Moreover, the UAE has
also announced the use of the Wareed system at health facilities in Dubai and
the Northern Emirates. The system is designed to help doctors and healthcare
workers detect potential cases of coronavirus during medical appointments. By
using the system, doctors are able to document their patients’ details,
including their symptoms and their travel history, which will be processed by
an algorithm to decide whether or not the patient may be at risk. 

The development of these
types of innovative technologies comes at a crucial time as the international
community grapples with a potential global catastrophe. She notes that the UAE
also offers Malaysia practical and innovative initiatives that the country can
learn from. 

The focus of diplomacy
and international cooperation in addressing COVID-19 pandemic

“The COVID-19 pandemic
unquestionably presents an era-defining challenge to public health and the
global economy. Seeing that the challenges are global, it is imperative to
countries to cooperate in more knowledge sharing, more global cooperation and
therefore a global concerted effort,” said Mohamed Al-Qurtasi, Director of
Operations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation.

“To overcome this
crisis, we need international collaboration, strong relationships and effective
diplomacy. To see how powerful such global ties can be, governments need only
look to scientists,” agrees Datuk Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah, Chief of Protocol cum
Head of COVID-19 Task Force, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He further adds that
‘science diplomacy’, meaning international cooperation with science at its core,
is the key to overcoming COVID-19.

The context of Datuk
Wan’s statement is that scientists have long formed relationships with
colleagues across the globe. Countries are increasingly recognising the
diplomatic value of such cross-border scientific projects and networks, known
as “science diplomacy”. These international networks can re-establish trust and
diffuse tensions when political relations are strained.

Science paired with
diplomacy can bring about unprecedented global change, as shown by the recovery
of the ozone layer. Building bridges between science and policy, and between
countries, will help solve the problems of today and tomorrow.

The online conference
reflected the close bilateral relationship between Malaysia and UAE. In the
spirit of maintaining diplomacy and the close ties of both countries, both
parties agreed to learn from each other in order to combat the global spread of
COVID-19.

Dato Kamaruddin Jaafar
said in the closing of the conference, “We extend our thanks and gratitude to
Rabdan Academy in organising this event. The academy possesses the latest
programs and education and has great credibility in the region and the world.
Rabdan Academy is unique in providing training programs with international
standards that meet the Ministry’s needs in terms of the education and training
of its employees in specialized subjects with the aim to develop and enhance
their capabilities. It has been an enlightening conference and I hope both
countries have benefitted from the mutual sharing of knowledge and experiences
in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID-19 is a global challenge, it
will require more solidarity between our countries.”