Malaysia to showcase Palestinian sufferings

  • Nation
  • Monday, 27 Jan 2003

SUBANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said efforts would be made to bring Palestinian victims of Israeli atrocities to Malaysia.  

He said this was to show to the world the sufferings of the Palestinians, who have been oppressed by Israel for many years. 

“We want to show the suffering of the Palestinians because some people say their problem has nothing to do with terrorism.  

“But actually terrorism occurs because the Palestinians did not receive help in their efforts to regain control of their territory,” he added at a gathering at the air force base here yesterday by the People’s Alliance for Peace Malaysia to welcome him home. 

Dr Mahathir was back home after a week-long trip to Lebanon, Egypt and Davos in Switzerland, where he attended the World Economic Forum (WEF). 

He also reiterated that the real reason the United States wanted to launch a war against Iraq was to gain control of the country’s oil. 

“Despite the Gulf War ending 10 years ago and the UN arms inspectors not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the US is still adamant about going to war with Iraq.  

“I don’t think it is because of (fighting against) terrorism – because (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein terrorised his own people and other Arabs. It is actually because of oil,” he added. 

On another matter, Dr Mahathir denied that Singapore's behaviour over the dispute over Pulau Batu Puteh was just like what Malaysia did when it was disputing the claim over Pulau Sipadan with Indonesia. 

“Unlike Singapore, Malaysia had never chased away the Indonesians who had come to the island in large numbers. 

“Their (Indonesia’s) naval ship went there but we did not frighten them off or shoo them away,” he said when asked to comment on Singapore’s statement that its actions on Pulau Batu Puteh were no different in law from Malaysia’s own actions on Pulau Sipadan. 

Citing documents filed by Indonesia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister S. Jayakumar had said in Parliament on Saturday that Jakarta had protested at least five times about continued Malaysian activity on Pulau Sipadan. 

Jayakumar said these complaints were rejected by Malaysia, which said the activities “were simply the continuation of actions it had undertaken before the dispute arose.” 

“Well, in this light, Singapore’s actions on Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) are no different in law from Malaysia’s actions on Pulau Sipadan,” Jayakumar was quoted as saying. 

Malaysia and Singapore are both claiming the small outcrop on their maritime border and are due to sign a pact on Feb 6 to refer the issue to the ICJ at The Hague.  

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