Najib defends Australia’s ‘Malaysian solution’

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak urged Australians to keep politics out of attempts to resolve the human smuggling problem in an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) today.

Malaysia’s prime minister is currently in Perth for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard.

“People traffickers do not respect international borders and legal jurisdictions any more than they respect the human rights of their victims, which is why Malaysia and Australia worked together to develop a way of stopping them,” Najib wrote in the SMH.

He reminded Australians of the Christmas Island tragedy last December when an overcrowded boat carrying nearly 100 migrants struck rocks and saw dozens drown, including at least five children and three babies.

“As the prime minister of a progressive, liberal nation, I’m not prepared to stand by and watch that happen,” he said.

He said Malaysia has been at the forefront in Southeast Asia of dealing with international problems and pledged to continue working with Australia to find new ways to stop human traffickers.

Najib also noted some Australian opposition lawmakers have been painting Malaysia as a “bad place” and claimed the country has a poor human rights record, especially in its treatment of refugees.

“Malaysia is not some repressive, backward nation that persecutes refugees and asylum seekers,” he said.