'Little respect for others'


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 13 Apr 2003

BY WANI MUTHIAH

KUALA LUMPUR: The US Government would only prove it had little respect for the international code of conduct if it imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions on nations opposed to its invasion of Iraq, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz. 

She said such a move would also be indicative of the United States’ “growing arrogance as well as its desire to be both the world’s police and judiciary.” 

“Currently, what the United States has done is to determine what is ‘good’ for other sovereign nations as well as take action against those who disagree with its decisions,” she said. 

Rafidah reiterated that Malaysia was not against the United States but rather its policy in relation to Iraq as well as its military action there. 

“We are against its unilateral move to wage war by going against the United Nations,” she told reporters yesterday after presenting RM20,000 contributed by staff of her ministry and its agencies to the Iraqi People’s Humanitarian Fund. 

The minister was commenting on a recent Associated Press report that the United States had threatened to impose diplomatic and economic sanctions on Malaysia for “fanning anti-American sentiments” by criticising the US-led invasion of Iraq.  

However, US Ambassador to Malaysia Marie T. Huhtala had given her assurance last week that US-Malaysia ties would remain strong in spite of the nation’s opposition to war. 

On another matter, Rafidah said the Government was closely monitoring global economic trends as well as keeping tabs on the nation’s exports. 

She said the Government was getting regular feedback from investors and entrepreneurs on international trading trends to facilitate the implementation of a buffer should the Malaysian economy be affected by the current crisis. 

In Kuala Lumpur, DEVID RAJAH reports Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Albar as said Malaysia and its people were just expressing what they felt was right and wrong in relation to the invasion of Iraq.  

“We are not acting contrary (to what many other countries have expressed), and I think ours is not a lone voice in the world. It is even shared by big powers like Russia, France, Germany and China. 

“Sometimes we worry when people get angry, especially when it is a big country, but we are just learning from them that in a democracy there must be freedom of speech and expression,” he said after opening the Bukit Bintang Wanita and Puteri Divisions delegates' meeting here yesterday. 

He said local dailies and the media which were very vocal over the war were emulating their US counterparts. 

In Dungun, K. SUTHAKAR reports Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as saying Malaysia’s strong stand against some Western powers might result in a backlash in the form of economic sabotage.  

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