by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, March 8, 1994:
DAP welcomes efforts to resolve the strain in Malaysia-Britain ties through diplomatic channels as the worsening of the problem would do no good for both countries
DAP welcomes efforts to resolve the strain in Malaysia-Britain ties through diplomatic channels as the worsening of the problem would do no good for both countries.
The Malaysian High Commissioner to UK, Datuk Kamaruddin Abu, had told SKY TV: “We are talking to diplomatic channels and we have excellent contacts because of the good relations over the years. Therefore, we are quite confident that this matter can be resolved amicably.”
The use of the diplomatic channels to resolve the strain in Malaysia-Britain ties is better than sabre-rattling by leaders of both Governments as had happened in the past few days,
In reaction to the statement by the British Foreign Minister, Douglas Kurd, that the British Government might retaliate against the Malaysian Government ban against British compa¬nies, Malaysian Ministers have responded in kind.
The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Rafidah Aziz, said that. European companies are knocking on Malaysia’s doors to take over government tenders which had initially been intended for British companies.
She said: “For medicinal products, the United States, Germany and Switzerland are prepared to supply our needs. We have the United States, Germany, Russia and France for our defence equipment and South Korea and Japan for building contracts. There is no shortage in our options.”
Foreign Minister, Datuk Abdullah Badawi was also quoted as saying that other countries would meet. Malaysia’s needo if London banned trade with Malaysia in retaliation.
The Malaysian Government must act prudently to avoid a full trade war with Britain. From the latest statistics from the Department of Statistics, in the first ten months from January and October 1993, the Malaysia-UK trade balance is in our favour. Malaysia’s imports from the United Kingdom totalled RM2.9 billion while Malaysia’s exports to the United Kingdom totalled RM4.2 billion.
Malaysia may not have great problems in finding new sources for its British imports, but it may not find it easy to secure new markets for our present exports to the United Kingdom.
Two questions have disturbed many Malaysians over the Malaysian government handling of its ties with the United Kingdom: Firstly, whether it is right and proper for the Malaysian Government to take retaliatory action against British companies because of the London Sunday Times allegation of corruption against the person of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, when Dr. Mahathir could take legal action to clear his name and integrity.
The American newspapers had published many reports about corruption against Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka during his tenure of office over the Lockheed scandal but the Japanese government did not retaliate with sanctions against American companies.
The second question is the Malaysian Government’s preparedness to be accountable to the Malaysian Parliament and people on the various issues, projects and business deals, where allegations of corruption, bribery and improprieties had been made in the British mass media.
Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, had conceded the right of the British mass media to demand for accountability from the British Government over British taxpayers’ money.
Is Anwar Ibrahim and the Malaysian Government prepared to concede such right to Malaysian MPs, the Malaysia mass media and the Malaysian people to demand accountability from the Malaysian Government on the various issues, projects and business deals which had been adversely reported, in the British mass media in the past few months and which involve the Malaysian taxpayers’ money?