Malaysia Strives To Deny Human Traffickers A Transit Point - Najib
From Leslean Arshad
CANBERRA, March 3 (Bernama) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said here Thursday all necessary measures are being taken to prevent the use of Malaysia as a transit point for human traffickers and people smugglers.
"We will do our part to make sure Malaysia is never a transit point for these people," he said.
Najib said Malaysia recognised the importance in addressing human trafficking and people smuggling, which is a big issue in Australia.
He said it was an issue that Malaysia could identify with because, many years ago, it had to handle the issue of Vietnamese "boat people".
On Australia's proposal to set up a regional detention centre in Timor-Leste to process refugees, Najib said the issue would be discussed at the forthcoming Bali Process Ministerial Meeting.
"We need a bit of time to study the Australian proposal, but we will be as positive as we can," he told a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Prime Minister's office courtyard here.
Najib said that since it was a regional initiative, Malaysia would like to get some regional outlook first.
During their meeting earlier both Najib and Gillard had noted that people smuggling was a regional problem requiring a regional solution.
The two leaders welcomed the outstanding cooperation between their law enforcement agencies in counter-terrorism and in curbing transnational crimes, including people smuggling.
Gillard expressed appreciation for Malaysia's regional leadership and effectiveness in the areas and the leaders reiterated their commitment to work side-by-side in addressing the crimes.
An Australia-Malaysia joint statement issued after the meeting said the two leaders looked forward to the signing of a memorandum of understanding on civil maritime law enforcement operations as a means of further strengthening bilateral cooperation.
Gillard, at the press conference, lauded Malaysia's recent amendment to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 that also criminalises the offences relating to people smuggling.
On education links between Australia and Malaysia, Najib said Malaysia would like to see more Australian students study in Malaysia, adding that their number was relatively small at the moment.
He said there should be some understanding for Australians to be encouraged to study in Malaysia, for example an arrangement that required Australian students to undergo one semester of study in Malaysia.
Najib and Gillard welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding here to further strengthen cooperation in education and sports.