20 February 2003

Mr Syed Hamid Albar

Malaysia criticises rich nations
for alleged racist policies




Malaysia has criticised Western nations for what it calls double standards in human rights.
Opening a two-day meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Kuala Lumpur, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar criticised rich nations for what he called their racist policies in the war on terror.
He claimed that while these nations lectured developing countries on alleged human rights violations, "other forms of related intolerance" were growing in their own countries.
But, instead of going on the defensive, Mr Syed Hamid urged NAM member countries to continue to be in the forefront of the fight against racism.
The NAM conference opened on Thursday to draw up strategies and lay the groundwork for the revitalisation of the biggest grouping after the United Nations.
Iraq is also expected to dominate the meeting.
Both the outgoing and incoming heads of NAM - South Africa and Malaysia - are strong opponents of the US war efforts.
Malaysia is pushing for a special session on the sidelines of the summit to get members to commit to a clear stand on the possible US-led war against Iraq.
And, it said, the Kuala Lumpur declaration to be issued at the end of the summit will contain anti-war sentiments.