Malaysia told to ensure citizens do not rally in Mecca, Medina

May 08, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — The Saudi Arabian government has asked Malaysia to take steps to ensure its citizens are not involved in any demonstrations or illegal assemblies in Mecca and Medina as what occurred in the two holy cities on April 26.  

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (picture) said the matter was stated by the Saudi Arabian government in a diplomatic note dated May 3 and issued by its embassy here.  

“In the letter, we have been asked to advise our people to abide by the local laws and norms of Saudi Arabia,” he told a news conference at the Institute of Foreign Diplomacy and Relations here today.  

The media had reported that Saudi authorities were conducting detailed investigations into an assembly, purportedly masterminded by the opposition, in Mecca and Medina.  

Anifah regretted that the illegal assembly had not only tarnished the image of Malaysia, but also could affect the quota of haj as well as the espect and treatment enjoyed by Muslims in the country when performing their pilgrimage.

“Don’t take it for granted… don’t abuse the respect, especially the 10,000 pilgrims quota. I believe the demonstration was not wise as it did not improve any better convenience to other pilgrims there.  

“It worries us as before this, the Saudi Arabian government was happy to see Malaysians among the best in performing their pilgrimage and umrah.

On Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez’s statement that Malaysia was not safe for Indonesian workers, Anifah said it was irresponsible and ignorant as it was aimed at disrupting the good relations and cooperation between Malaysia and the neighbouring country.

“Irene’s statements were baseless as Malaysia complied to the bilateral mechanism enshrined in the ASEAN Act and International Labour Organisation apart from respecting workers’ rights,” he added. — Bernama