(Petaling Jaya, Monday): On his return on Thursday from his visit to the United States and the United Nations, Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he had made it clear in his meeting with the United States Vice President Dick Cheney that Malaysia does not like to be branded as a terrorist state or as having links with terrorists or any such profiling.
He said Malaysia should not be viewed as a terrorist nation merely based on reports that say certain people in Malaysia had links with terrorist groups abroad.
He added that actions taken by Malaysia in tackling the terrorism threat were evidence of its firm stand against terrorism and terrorists.
During his visit to the United States, Abdullah also met the U.S. Director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge to “substantially reduce” the time taken by the US Government to process visas for Malaysian students and the US National Security Adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice.
However, Abdullah did not seem to have achieved much success
in persuading the Bush administration not to brand Malaysia as a
terrorist state or as having links with terrorists, as Malaysia has been singled
out for the first time by the United States Government and lumped with 14 other
countries as “terrorist-risk” states and
US immigration inspectors are authorized
to “fingerprint, photograph and track visiting
aliens” who have traveled to these countries and can’t “credibly
explain” their trips.
Abdullah should make a Ministerial statement in Parliament tomorrow on
Malaysia being singled out for the first time for immigration restrictions and
lumped in the group of 15
“terrorist-risk countries” and the outcome of his recent visit to United
States to impress on the Bush Administration not to brand Malaysia as a
terrorist state or as having links with terrorism.
carried an exclusive report, putting a highly sensitive four-page Justice
Department memorandum by the US Attorney-General John Ashcroft on its website,
which authorized US
immigration inspectors from October
1 to fingerprint, photograph and track “visiting aliens” who have travelled
to 15 “terrorist-risk” countries including
Malaysia and can’t credibly explain
The 15 “terrorist-risk” countries cited in the Ashcroft memo are: Iran,
Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Aghanistan, Yemen,
Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The internal document, dated September 5, reveals that immigration inspectors
have been given much wider latitude in screening and monitoring foreign visitors
than has been reported.
It would also mean that when Abdullah met Cheney last week, where he
purportedly told the US Vice President not to brand Malaysia as a terrorist
state or as having links with terrorists, the Bush Administration had already
taken a policy decision to do exactly that.
Did Cheney or any other
member of the Bush administration intimate to Abdullah during his visit
to the United State that Malaysia had already been
singled out for the first time and lumped in the company of 15
“terrorist-risk” states to justify hostile or at least unfriendly treatment
by the US immigration authorities?
Abdullah should explain in his Ministerial statement in Parliament how
Mahathir’s “929 Declaration” that Malaysia is an Islamic State had
impacted on the Bush Administration’s policy decision to lump Malaysia with
the group of 15 “terrorist-risk” states to justify discriminatory treatment
of visitors from Malaysia.
Furthermore, Abdullah should also address in his Ministerial statement the WorldNetDaily report which quoted US intelligence officials as saying that “there is growing evidence that Muslim extremists in Malaysia and Indonesia pose a terrorist threat to the US”.