Antagonising and alienating Germany, France, Canada and EU countries strongly opposed to US invasion of Iraq and even Chirac, Mahathir’s pal, and Putin,  over the OIC Summit speech is not a diplomatic  coup but a diplomatic disaster of the first order

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaSaturday): DAP condemns the call by the United States-based Jewish lobby group, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which called for a boycott of tourism and investments in Malaysia in protest against the speech by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit. 

DAP  calls on the United States President George Bush and his administration to publicly dissociate themselves from  the boycott call by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre “until it was clear his successors when he retires at the end of the month do not share his views”.

“It cannot be business as usual as long as the head of Malaysia continues to validate the ugly racist hate of anti-Semitism that invites anti-Jewish hate crimes and terrorism,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the  Centre, when making the boycott call.

Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, should unite to deplore the intolerable boycott call by the  Simon  Wiesenthal Centre to send out a clear message to the world that the 25 million Malaysians are united as one in the defence of national interests.

In the meantime, the Malaysian Cabinet and Parliament should begin to mend diplomatic  fences, for antagonising and alienating Germany, France, Canada and European Union (EU) countries which had been strongly opposed to US invasion of Iraq and even French President Chirac, Mahathir’s pal, over the OIC Summit speech is not a diplomatic  coup but a diplomatic disaster of the first order.  The Russian President Putin, who attended the OIC Summit as a guest, also had to distance himself from Mahathir’s speech when he attended the APEC Summit in Bangkok. 

France, Germany, Russia and  Canada were among the countries which were in the “US doghouse” earlier this year for their stand against the US war on Iraq, with Bush refusing to accept telephone calls from some of their leaders or unable to find time to meet them. 

But with one speech, Mahathir had succeeded in getting all these countries and leaders opposed to the US war against Iraq lined up with the US against Malaysia. 

Mahathir is ending his 22-year premiership with an international bang, leaving to his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the country to pick up the many broken pieces. 

There is an urgent need for Parliament and Cabinet to review and take stock whether the Malaysian government has embarked on the most efficacious diplomacy to win friends and influence people in the international arena to advance Malaysia’s national interests, whether political or economic – especially with Malaysia occupying the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). 

In Bangkok, Mahathir made the remark that the “reaction of the world” shows the truth of his OIC Summit speech that “Jews do control the world”. 

What is disconcerting about Mahathir’s remark is the implication that the countries which had protested against his OIC Summit speech had done so under the influence, pressure and control of world Jewry – such as the European Union,  German, Italian, British, Canadian, even the French (with Chirac’s subsequent condemnation), the American and  Australian governments.  Is this the  policy stand that the Malaysian government has decided to take vis-ŕ-vis Malaysia’s relations with the world and in particular with these countries – regardless of the consequences?


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman