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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

17/03/2003

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

Hindustan Times

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

It’s payback time: India to go tough on Malaysia
New Delhi, March 13 - Suspecting the role of pro-Pakistan elements in theSunday morning raids on Indians techies in Kuala Lumpur, India ispreparing to hit Malaysia where it hurts most.

For starters, the Foreign Office is planning to reschedule and cancel allbilateral visits while grounding the extra slots given to MalaysianAirlines. Impact: the Malaysian tourism industry, which gets a sizeablechunk of its earnings from India, will lose tourist traffic originatingfrom here.

Also on India’s lash list is exclusion of Malaysian companies from roadconstruction projects, and a freeze on Malaysian palm oil import. "We wantto send a clear message that incidents like these will not be tolerated,"said a MEA official.

New Delhi's anger stems from the fact that the raids may have beenplanned. Sources said Malaysian Police may have gone after the Indians atthe behest of pro-Pakistan Islamic groups associated with the youth wingof the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Sources said the youth wing has been running a campaign to promote thecause of the majority Muslim Malays.

The Malaysian ruling party faces stiff opposition from the main Islamicparty, PAS, which accuses it of being soft on ethnic Indians.

"The message was clear that Indians were not welcome," said a diplomaticsource. "Four Pakistanis who were also picked up along with the Indianswere treated warmly the moment they took out their Pakistani passports.They were even provided food by the police," he said.

Besides supporting the Pakistani stance on Kashmir, the UMNO's youth wingis now reportedly pitching for the right of ethnic Malays to holdprofessional jobs. This hurts Indian professionals who are muchsought-after and command high salaries.

As Malaysia takes over the chairmanship of the Organisation of IslamicStates, there is pressure on it to take sides on key Indo-Pak issues.

Malaysia orders probe

Malaysia ordered a probe into the detention and ill-treatment of about 270Indians. "We want to clear the air over the issue by carrying out acomplete investigation even though our initial investigation did notindicate any wrongdoing," city police chief Dell Akhbar Khan said.

PTI, Kuala Lumpur