VALLETTA (Malta): Malaysia has given an assurance that there is no policy against Chinese visitors to the country.
“We encourage them to come. We want them to come,” said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He said there was no policy against Chinese tourists and businessmen and they were welcome to visit the country.
The assurance came in the wake of a controversy arising from several incidents involving Chinese nationals and a recent video clip which showed a naked woman doing ear squats while in police custody.
The 70-second video had made the rounds via the multi-media messaging service (MMS) and was made public on Thursday by Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who downloaded the clip into her laptop computer and showed it to other MPs in Parliament House, sparking public outrage.
This led Abdullah to call for an immediate probe into the incident, with no cover-ups.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Musa Hasan has since said that whoever took the video clip would be charged under the Penal Code with insulting the modesty of the person or intruding into the privacy of the woman.
He said it was only the perpetrator behind the clip and not the policewoman that the police was after, as the woman cop was only carrying out a routine check.
Musa said a special team under his supervision had interviewed several people regarding the incident.
At the close of the three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting here yesterday, a foreign journalist asked the Prime Minister if there would be an apology.
Abdullah said: “If there had been incidents involving some Chinese nationals, caused by a government official – whether by an immigration officer or a police officer – we apologise for that.”
“But these people and their actions certainly do not represent the entire service or the attitude of the Government towards Chinese visitors who come to Malaysia, for whatever purpose,” he stressed.
On another matter, Abdullah spoke out against alienating, isolating or discriminating anycommunity that terrorists belong to.
He said profiling terrorists with a certain community was akin to giving them support.
“We have to understand and assess terrorists in their own group, in order to better deal with them,” he said.
Abdullah said it was wrong in not wanting to understand the causes of terrorism and to be in a state of denial and resorting to what one thought was best in handling the issue.
He said it was important to win the hearts and minds of the people in the fight against terrorism.
Based on Malaysia's experience in fighting communist terrorists for almost 20 years, he said, they would lose ground support if they were cut off from the people.
Without the people's support, they would not be able to fight, he said, adding that nobody would support anyone resorting to acts of terrorism for the sake of doing so.
“In Malaysia, we understand and know why the communist terrorists fight against us,” he said, adding the Government was able to win the support of the majority of the Chinese community.
He said the terrorists might hijack Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or whatever religious group to lend legitimacy to their acts.
“But, we can explain and tell the people how to deal with them. They (terrorists) would not get the support,” he said.
The Prime Minister said followers of the various religions might have been misled into thinking the rebels were fighting for them but, actually, the terrorists have their own agenda.
He said he was happy that the issue of terrorism was discussed and included as part of the final communiqué of CHOGM.
Abdullah said the leaders emphasised the importance of understanding the conditions under which perpetrators are operating, and the circumstances that pushed them to committing terrorist activities.
The 103-point 20-page communiqué, as well as two separate statements on the Malta Declaration on Networking the Commonwealth for Development and Gozo Statement on Vulnerable Small States, were released yesterday.
On Saturday, the leaders approved the Valletta Statement on Multilateral Trade. The 53 heads of government attending the three-day summit agreed to a final statement promoting “dialogue, tolerance and understanding among civilizations'' as a key anti-terrorism tool.
“States must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with their obligations under international law, in particular human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law,'' the 103-point final declaration said.
More stories from CHOGM 2005:Abdullah: Be flexible to ensure fruitful WTO talks Golden rules to reaching a win-win situation