I know a lot of people are following the Raja Petra Kamaruddin case, and so am I, but I’d like to take a moment to update those who haven’t heard yet (Suspect that these will be all the non-Malaysians who don’t follow our news that closely).
Well, it has a part two. You see, the day after, Syed Hamid Albar, former Minister of Foreign Affairs (now Home Minister) poured cold water over the proposal (sorry, but I love the way Albar said it, not how the Star reported it). Full article reproduced below, but allow me to recount [Nick]’s idea of what transpired on Monday morning when Syed Albar got into office:
Syed: *Opens papers and reads* OMGWTF RAIS I LET YOU IN FOR TWO MINUTES AND THIS IS WHAT YOU DO??
*Slightly later, over the intercom* Siti, please call a press conference. Now..
‘Fly alone’ women: Syed Hamid shoots down proposed curbs
May 5, 08 1:26pm
The Home Ministry today shot down a proposal that would require women travelling abroad on their own to produce consent letters from parents or employers to prevent them being used as drug ‘mules’.
Newly installed foreign minister Rais Yatim caused uproar on the weekend with the suggestion, which he reportedly said had been put to the cabinet after being approved by his ministry and the Home Ministry.
syed hamid albar 01However, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar – a long-serving foreign minister until a recent cabinet reshuffle – poured cold water on the controversial idea, saying it was impractical and would infringe on human rights.
“In so far as travelling is concerned, we can’t impose any regulations. I think Dr Rais was just throwing ideas,” he said according to the official Bernama news agency.
women traveller airport 050508″To me, if you are an adult, even within the country it is difficult to ask them to inform their family where they are going. So if you are an adult, you have to act on your own,” he said.
Syed Hamid said it was the right of every Malaysian to apply for a passport and to obtain a visa to travel to other countries.
“Even if you ask permission from parents, we can’t be sure this thing will not happen. The parents can’t be following the person everywhere. So it has to be education to tell them the dangers of this sort of activities,” he said.
Proposal slammed by women’s groups
rais yatimRais floated the idea after reports that 119 Malaysians, 90 percent of who are women, have been imprisoned worldwide on drug-related charges, with the majority believed to have been duped into transporting drugs.
He said many of the women involved left Malaysia purportedly to attend courses and seminars.
The New Straits Times said Malaysians have become prime targets for syndicates wanting to smuggle drugs into the European Union because they do not require visas for short stays or to transit in those countries.
Women’s groups quickly criticised the suggestion, saying that the proposal was impossible to enforce and that women should not be further victimised because of their involvement in drug-smuggling rackets.
Ministry clarifies proposal
However in a clarification made later in the day by the Foreign Ministry’s external information division, the ministry said that Rais had actually proposed for the letter to be used only for women under the age of 21.
“It is not aimed at women in general. The minister meant well in his proposal which is to help protect our citizens,” added the division in a statement which was faxed to media organisations.
It added that the proposal, if approved by the cabinet, was to serve as a means of allowing parents to be more aware of their children under the legal age who want to travel outside the country.
“It would help prevent Malaysians from being victimised by international criminal syndicates who are targeting our citizens due to a number of reasons”.
The division added that it was also an Asian culture for children to seek permission from their parents before embarking on a journey, especially overseas.
“The proposal would not be a violation of human rights since it would, if accepted, only apply to those who are still under the legal protection of their parents to begin with,” added the division.