Malaysia: What human trafficking?

Saturday January 17, 2009

PUTRAJAYA: Kuala Lumpur has refuted US allegations that officials here are involved in human trafficking activities.

Saying that the accusations were baseless, ridiculous and far-fetched, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said it was typical of the United States to practise “high-handedness” by accusing other countries of “committing various crimes”.

“We are a civilised country. We are not living in barbaric times when people are sold off at the whims and fancies of people with power.

“It is certainly unfair of the US Senate to accuse us of doing outrageous things,” he told The Star yesterday.

AFP reported recently that the US Senate is investigating allegations that officials in Malaysia were extorting money from foreign migrants and were linked to human trafficking.

The migrants, mostly from Myanmar, were allegedly taken by government officials to the border between Malaysia and Thailand where they were extorted or sold to human trafficking syndicates.

The report also claimed that the foreigners were taken from government-run detention centres to the border where money was demanded from them. They were turned over to human traffickers in southern Thailand if they could not pay up.

According to US officials, the Senate foreign relations committee staff have travelled to Malaysia, Thailand and to the border to collect information as part of investigations.

Dr Rais said Wisma Putra had not been informed of any visit by the committee, adding that such visits would require government-to-government arrangements and approval.

“One cannot simply go to another country and start investigating. We are a sovereign country,” he said.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar also denied claims that thousands of illegal foreigners held at detention centres were “being sold off” to human trafficking syndicates.

“I take offence with the allegation because neither the Malaysian Government nor its officials make money by selling people.

“We detain them because they are illegals who must be sent home, We take care of their needs. We don’t hold them at depots and sell them away,” he said.

Syed Hamid said if the US Senate was concerned about the welfare of humans and wanted to act as the “policeman of the world”, it should immediately stop the genocide by Israel against Palestinians.

1 Comment

  1. That’s a strong comment at the end. Not incorrect. It seems to be ok when some countries are involved in unjustifiable murders, but not others. Israel is not the only current example of this.

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