Demand for envoy’s apology

November 16, 2007 (The Star)
KUALA LUMPUR: The comment of outgoing European Commission’s envoy to Malaysia Thierry Rommel in response to a recent illegal gathering here was totally unbecoming of his position.

Umno Youth international and non-governmental organisation relations bureau chairman Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said Rommel had sought to interfere in Malaysia’s internal affairs without having any official capacity to do so.
“His statements are a poor reflection of his achievements during his tenure as European envoy to Malaysia which has been marked by a breach of sensibility and diplomatic decorum.
“As a result, relations between the European Union and Malaysia are under scrutiny,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Rommel had said Malaysia was under “an effective state of emergency” when referring to the recent opposition-led rally in Kuala Lumpur which was attended by thousands of people.
Mukhriz said Rommel’s allusion that Malaysia was under some kind of grave social and political threat stemming from social unrest only served to “uncover the malevolent intentions to smear Malaysia on an international platform as is intended by the opposition parties.”
He said Umno Youth demanded that Rommel apologise to the Malaysian Government and people.
“The failure to do so will only further strain the established ties and dampen the climate of vibrant economic activity between the European Union and Malaysia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar told foreign groups who have called for a royal commission of inquiry into the illegal assembly that they should mind their own business.
He said that although Malaysia was a democratic country, democracy did not equate to lawlessness.
“Let me put it this way. Malaysia will govern the country in its own way,” he told reporters after hosting lunch for his counterpart from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sven Alkalaj, at a hotel in Putrajaya yesterday.