DAP protest to US Ambassador at imposition of  new US visa restrictions to Malaysians, both Muslim and non-Muslim

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The DAP has protested to the United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Marie T. Huhtala at the new US visa restrictions to Malaysians, both Muslim and non-Muslim, in the company of 25 other Muslim  countries in the latest  US move to tighten immigration policies in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

DAP leaders, including National Deputy Chairman, Karpal Singh, National Vice Chairman, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw,  Deputy Secretary-General Chong Eng, National Treasurer Fong Kui Lun, National Organising Secretary Tan Kok Wai, International Secretary Teresa Kok, Human Rights Committee Chairman Chow Kon Yeow , MP for Bagan, Lim Hock Seng and myself met with the US Ambassador to register our objection to the imposition of the new US visa restrictions on Malaysians.

Under the  new US visa rules,  male Malaysians aged between 16 and 45 planning to go to the US would have to complete a detailed questionnaire asking if they had any past military service, whether they had any weapons training, besides their previous travel itineraries.  After filling up the questionnaire, they would have to wait 20 days for their visas, while information is studied in Washington by a FBI terrorist task force.

Besides Malaysia, countries affected by the new rules are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

We informed the US Ambassador while we respect the US right to impose the new visa regulations  in the interests of their own national security, the US administration should respect the right of Malaysians to be offended and outraged at the imposition of such new US visa restrictions on Malaysia as this conveys the clear message that Malaysia is now regarded as a dangerous terrorist state.

Marie Huhtala said she would convey the DAPís stand to the US administration, in particular the DAP call for the removal of such visa restrictions to Malaysians, both Muslim and non-Muslim, as Malaysia is not a centre of international terrorism of any description.

DAP leaders asked whether the US government has any evidence that there are al-Qaeda cells of Osama bin Laden in Malaysia, but the US Ambassador said she had no information on the matter.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman