Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Malaysia rebukes EU envoy comments

Europe's top diplomat in Malaysia, Mr.Thierry Rommel has been summoned by the Malaysian foreign ministry to discuss criticisms he made about policies favouring ethnic Malays.

Malaysia has accused the European Union envoy of meddling in its affairs after he said on Thursday Malaysia should roll back its 37-year-old New Economic Policy (NEP), which gives privileges in businesses, jobs and education to Malays.

Rommel said it was discriminatory and amounted to protectionism. Malays form just over half of Malaysia's 26 million people, with ethnic Chinese and Indians forming sizeable minorities.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak hit back at Rommel, saying he had overstepped diplomatic boundaries.

A veteran leader of Malaysia's parliamentary opposition, Lim Kit Siang, said that the government should justify giving state aid according to race, rather than accusing Mr Rommel of not having the facts right.

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