Black day for Malaysia’s international image

Media statement by DAP International Secretary Liew Chin Tong on 13th February 2012 in Kuala Lumpur

Black day for Malaysia’s international image

It is often cynically said that foreign policy is merely an extension of domestic politics. In the case of Malaysia, it is unfortunately true.

Yesterday, 12th February 2012, Malaysia displayed to the international community that it has scant regard for human rights, rule of law and justice.

The Malaysia Government deported Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old Saudi Arabian columnist, despite fears voiced by human rights groups that he could face execution in his home country over comments he made in Twitter, and after his lawyers obtained a Malaysian court order to prevent his deportation.

Malaysia is now also the butt of international jokes as a result of the BBC’s global apology over the FBC Media scandal. The Malaysian government paid public relation company FBC Media to make a series of eight documentaries for the BBC about Malaysia – while failing to declare it was paid £17 million by the Malaysian government for “global strategic communications”. Investigations into the scandal “uncovered 15 breaches of editorial guidelines”, of which eight were related to FBC’s programmes on Malaysia.

Malaysia is not a backwater banana republic. We used to pride ourselves as an important and supposedly principled player in the international arena.

But the millions that the Najib administration spent on public relations companies are meaningless if the Government cannot uphold basic human rights principles in the case of Kashgari and uphold integrity in the BBC-FBC case.

Yesterday was a black day for Malaysia in the eyes of the world.

Liew Chin Tong

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