PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian authorities are not “profiling” young, female Chinese nationals who enter the country as likely to indulge in vice activities, including prostitution.
This is the message that Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid will convey during his week-long working trip to China from Wednesday.
The Prime Minister had ordered Azmi to go to China to clear any misconception that Malaysian authorities were targeting Chinese nationals, especially women coming to Malaysia.
Recently, three Chinese women claimed that their money was stolen, that they were forced to strip, and were peeped at by male officers when bathing while under police detention.
“I will visit three cities to convince the Chinese authorities and people that recent reports from Malaysia pertaining to their citizens in our country do not reflect the full picture. We welcome visitors from China and hope they continue to visit our country.
“Nevertheless, I will also impress on the Chinese authorities that action will be taken against those who violate our laws,” he told reporters after presenting awards for the National Registration Department’s Quality Day.
Asked if he would apologise to the Chinese Government for the recent incidents involving Chinese nationals, Azmi said: “We will apologise where we are wrong. There is nothing wrong in apologising if there is a mistake.”
Azmi said the Chinese Embassy here was also aware of the Government’s tough stand and agreed that action should be taken against its citizens who committed crimes or offences while in Malaysia.
The minister said the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing was making the necessary arrangements for his meetings with the Chinese authorities.
Asked if ties between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing had been strained following the spate of complaints by Chinese women of being subjected to humiliation and wrongful treatment while under police custody, the minister said this had yet to be determined.
On the Tourism Ministry’s claim that Chinese tourists dropped by 48% between January and August this year, Azmi said statistics compiled by the Immigration department showed otherwise.
“I have asked the department to give me a full list of foreigners who had entered Malaysia and who had left or had not. In this way, we can try to detect their whereabouts,” he added.
On the controversial video clip showing a naked woman doing ear squats before another woman in uniform, Azmi urged police not only to focus their investigations on who had recorded the incident but also who had ordered the ear squats.
“Police can haul up individuals in the course of investigations but the persons should not be subjected to such acts.
“The recording shows that such incidents happened and this needed to be addressed. I cannot be travelling overseas to try and convince people if the situation back home is different,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Leo Michael Toyad said they would double their efforts in promoting Malaysia in China to ensure visitors from the country continue coming here.
“We are not disheartened, even slightly, by what has happened.
“We will do our best to ensure they keep coming,” he said after a media launch of the Year End Sale 2005 at Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he had spoken to the Tourism Minister of China on the controversial issues.
“I have met him and he understood the situation. In his opinion, this is just an individual case,” he said yesterday in a phone interview from China. He is there to promote Malaysia to Chinese tourists.
Ahmad Zahid also said Immigration personnel must be more tactful when dealing with tourists.
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