Saturday, May 17, 2003

PM: US afraid of its own shadow

BY MUGUNTAN VANAR AND RUBEN SARIO

KENINGAU: The United States' latest advisory warning its citizens against visiting Malaysia, especially Sabah, shows that it is afraid of its own shadow because of its cruel actions, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
MEETING THE PEOPLE: Dr Mahathir wearing a hat made from tree bark, being welcomed by people from Sabah's interior district during his visit to Keningau Friday. - Bernamapic

The Prime Minister said the cruel actions of the United States against many innocent people were now haunting them.
“On my arrival here I see peace and security. There are no riots. But we read in the newspapers that there are terrorists planning to explode bombs to kill American citizens.
“We are able to gather like this here without fear of any threats. But according to CNN, the US states that Sabah is a terrorist haven.
“This is because they feel guilty as they have committed all sorts of actions like killing and oppressing others, invading another country, supporting Israel.”

He likened the US fear to that experienced by deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who despite protection by bodyguards was afraid to venture out of his palace because of his dictatorial actions against his own people.
“We in Malaysia do not resort to cruelty against our own people. We develop our country and the people are free to move about without fear.
“This is the style of the Barisan Nasional government – elected by the people to serve the people,” he told the opening of the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah 8th Congress at this interior town yesterday.
Later in Kota Kinabalu when asked by reporters about the motive for the advisory, Dr Mahathir said the United States could use the security issue as an excuse to do “something about Malaysia – maybe a regime change like in the case of Iraq.”
He said in Iraq’s case the United States said there were weapons of mass destruction but did not find any.
He said Malaysia would not do anything about the advisory.
Dr Mahathir said if Americans wanted to stay in their own country thinking it was safe, “I’d like to remind them that the attack on the World Trade Centre was on American soil, not ours. America is more dangerous than Malaysia.”
In its advisory on Wednesday, Washington warned that terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network may be planning attacks on US citizens and interests in Malaysia, particularly in Sabah.
It said Americans travelling to Sabah east coast islands had to exercise extreme caution due to the persistent threats from the Abu Sayaff group based in the southern Philippines.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysians did not hate Americans, and gave an assurance that US citizens were safe in this country.
“We have adequate security forces to maintain peace in the country,” he said.