Malaysia puzzled over US move

(NST) – He is disappointed and a little puzzled by the United States' government recent move to list Malaysia as one of the top trafficking offenders in the world.

But Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said since the country had been re-relegated to Tier 3 recently (after it had been upgraded to Tier 2 last year after the enactment of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007), it would be taking the necessary measures to look into human trafficking.

He said he would wait for an official letter from the US to know why exactly Malaysia was downgraded and what the country should be addressing.

"Is it illegal workers, Myanmar refugees, child labour or prostitution? Maybe it's the implementation of the act we need to look at. But the issue of human trafficking involves international co-operation, and I feel we can work together with Australia, United Kingdom and the US to address this crime."

With the media spotlight on the recent downgrade, Malaysia faces embarrassment with the report saying, among other things, that it had become a destination and at least a source and transit country for the trafficking of women and children.

"I am not trying to defend that. But I hope people will be fair to us, and be more specific with respect to their judgements towards Malaysia.

"We will have to specifically ask the US why. Tell me which areas you want us to overcome and in my capacity I will overcome it."