Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Malaysia And Australia To Fight Human Trafficking

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 (Bernama) - Malaysia and Australia on Wednesday reached accord on having high commitment to fight the smuggling and trafficking of humans, a matter that has much importance for both countries.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the matter was an issue that needed to be addressed in a bilateral and regional context.

For that, he said the political will of both countries was very much needed to ensure all agencies were involved for good cooperation.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak had also agreed on his ministry putting greater effort to handle the matter that had led to the world viewing Malaysia as a transit point.

"In my meeting, along with the Australian Prime Minister's Security Advisor, Duncan Lewis, with the prime minister, the prime minister said efforts to fight the menace would continue in an orderly manner as both countries wanted to ensure the problem would be overcome and rid the region of the menace.

"Datuk Seri Najib's commitment together with that of the Australia's prime minister's is very high in this issue," he said at a joint news conference with Lewis following the Malaysia-Australia Working Group Meeting on The Issue of Smuggling and Trafficking of Humans here.

Hishammuddin said the meeting also discussed in detail the trends in human smuggling, the main challenges and also studied approaches to detect human smuggling activities.

Besides that, there were also discussions on legal actions that involved prosecution and extradition.

"All efforts are towards continuity of the countries's enforcement agencies to deal with the problem," he said.

Hishammuddin said to ensure what had been achieved in the two-day meeting would be successfully implemented, a memorandum of understanding may be signed between the two countries in February.

He said the MoU would among other things lay guidelines on the sharing of information and intelligence not only on human trafficking and smuggling but also on terrorism that can affect the stability and peace of the region, and on the smuggling of drugs, especially of synthetic drugs.

On another development, Hishammuddin said the Cabinet today agreed that Kuala Lumpur would host the 'Pacific Rim Intelligence Conference' in October.

The conference would be attended by countries of the Pacific region to share ideas and experiences to fight international crime including human trafficking.

Meanwhile, Lewis said the time had come for both countries to have closer cooperation on the matter.

"I agree that now is the right time for us to be together and share views on the issue. It's not just about two countries but it is a global problem.

"We realised the problem of human smuggling can only be addressed by governments, the security agencies cannot be working alone. What we have discussed provides a better understanding for both sides on the challenges that we face," he said. --BERNAMA

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