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Monday, 29 September 2008


Pak Lah (right) and Najib: Foreign Minister Rais Yatim spoke at the UN general Asswmbly, 2008.


Don't meddle, Rais tells US at UN assembly

NEW YORK: Malaysia has voiced concern at the United Nations over recent attempts by the United States to question its national law and administration of justice.

"We could, if we choose to, question the legal basis of Guantanamo Bay detentions without trial, but we did not as we do not question societal behaviour in other jurisdictions," Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said.

Rais was speaking at the 63rd general assembly of the world body on Saturday, in place of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who had cancelled his trip here.

"It needs to be restated -- we have no right to meddle, in any form of manifestation or under any pretext or circumstances, in the conduct of the internal affairs of other countries," Rais said.

Washington has warned Malay- sia against any "politically-motivated" investigation or prosecution of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, saying that the rule of law had to stand above politics.

Anwar, who is Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser, has been charged with sodomising a former male aide.

Rais said certain societal behaviour might be acceptable in one country or region but not in another. For example, while "same-sex marriages are acceptable in California", sodomy is a crime in many Asian countries.

Rais said democracy in Malaysia remained vibrant and progressive and that the rule of law via Parliament remained central to its existence as a sovereign and independent nation.

He also compared the present financial crisis suffered by the United States to the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

"The troubles of Asian companies then were the result of outside forces while the present troubles of US financial companies are entirely their own doing.

"It is to be asked, why were the actions taken by the governments of Asia, in particular that of Malaysia, to save our own companies a decade ago deemed so wrong while the present bailout of US financial companies is deemed right?"

In Washington, the US Congress and the Bush administration are negotiating a US$700 billion (RM2,404 billion) rescue plan for its ailing financial sector, the largest bailout since the Great Depression.

The rescue plan would give Washington the power to purchase bad mortgage-related assets from US financial institutions over the next two years.

Rais also urged the Security Council to immediately resolve the problem of piracy in international waters in which Malaysia and several other countries had become victims.

He expressed Malaysia's hope that the littoral states in the Gulf of Aden, where two Malaysian vessels were hijacked by pirates, would provide the means to ensure the security of navigation in their waters. -- Bernama (NST Online 29 Sept 08)

We wonder how many will ever listen when small countries like Malaysia speak at the UN General Assembly. Dato' Seri Dr. Rais Yatim, who spoke on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, jealously guarded Malaysia's laws and blasted USA for interfering. Could anyone tell us whether there was "anyone" from the US delegation present when Rais delivered the speech.

So to make up the numbers, it is highly proper that Malaysia just sent her Foreign Minister to the annual UN Asembly. At least Malaysia can save some financially.

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