Pak Lah: We must be rational, not emotional

  • Nation
  • Friday, 21 Mar 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians must be rational and not be guided by sentiments and emotions in facing the Iraqi crisis. 

Acting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said this was vital to ensure that the peoples’ livelihoods would not be threatened as economic activities and daily lives must continue uninterrupted. 

“Our country will not be spared from the negative effects of the war and we will have to take the necessary measures to lessen its impact. 

NATIONAL INTEREST: Abdullah addressing the nation through a live telecast over RTM after the US strike on Iraq Thursday.

“The Government will be proactive in managing the nation’s economy – the market, financial system and other sectors – to ensure stability, resilience and vibrancy,” he added yesterday. 

Abdullah said gatherings should be held in an orderly fashion, in accordance with the nation’s laws to prevent threats to public order and ensure the safety of foreign interests. 

“Malaysia must also prove to foreign investors that the nation is safe for them and their investments. Visitors and tourists should not be given a cause to fear for their safety and we should continue to show that we embrace peace and reject violence in any form,” he said in an RTM live telecast on the strike by the United States and its allies on Iraq. 

Abdullah added that while Malaysia firmly opposes the US policy, it was not against Americans. 

“We sympathise with the families who have lost their loved ones during wars and terrorist acts. We also do not bear any ill feeling towards the business community which invests and operates in our country,” he said.  

He said the consequences of this war would not only have devastating implications on Iraq and the Middle East but also on the whole world. 

“The international campaign to rid the world of terrorism will be undermined. Anti-American sentiment around the world will rise, as will extremism and militancy,” he added. 

Abdullah also said the commencement of military action did not have the support of the majority of nations and people of the world, including citizens of the US and Britain.  

“Military solution should only be considered as a last resort after all other avenues have been exhausted and should be sanctioned by the United Nations. Malaysia is of the opinion that there is neither sufficient evidence nor justifiable cause for invading Iraq,” he said. 

He added that Iraq had progressively disarmed in compliance with the UN Security Council resolution and Malaysia was unconvinced by allegations that Iraq was a threat to other nations, especially to the US, given the latter’s military strength and geographical distance from Iraq. 

“What is more worrisome is the wanton destruction of Iraq that could come through the use of the most sophisticated weapons in the world, on the people and a nation which has already suffered for 12 years as a result of economic sanctions imposed by the UN,” he said. 

Abdullah added Malaysians should realise that the world’s political scenario had changed significantly as it was witnessing “might is right”. 

“The fate of smaller nations appears to be at the mercy of those who possess military power. The only strength that Malaysia can wield is unity to defend the sovereignty of the nation. 

“We must be ever vigilant against internal and external elements that may take this opportunity to disrupt peace in the country,” he said.  

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