Sri Lanka said blocking Malaysia conference

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 May 2001, 00:43 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar has intervened to disrupt an academic conference in Malaysia which was to discuss the Sri Lankan conflict, a columnist in a Malaysian news website said Thursday. "[Mr. Kadirgamar] made a personal call to one of the [Malaysian] government ministers and urged him to cancel the conference," Professor P. Ramasamy wrote in an article published by Malaysia Kini.com. Academic sources in Malaysia contacted about the article told TamilNet that both Sinhala and Tamil delegates had been invited to attend.

"Of late, there has been too much interference by the Sri Lankan High Commission in the internal affairs of Malaysia," Prof. Ramasamy said. "[The High Commission] has taken a bold and unsolicited step by going beyond the norms of diplomatic conduct to interfere in the local affairs of the country."

"Recently, a department at a local university wanted to organise an academic conference on the Sri Lankan conflict by inviting foreign and local scholars, but when the [Sri Lankan] mission got wind of it, the matter was taken to the highest level of the Sri Lankan government," he said.

"Subsequently, it seems that the foreign minister of Sri Lanka made a personal call to one of the government ministers and urged him to cancel the conference; it was felt by the Sri Lankan government that the conference might be sympathetic to the Tamil cause."

"Although a final decision has not been made, it looks like the Malaysian government might cave in to the request of the Sri Lankan foreign minister," the Professor protested.

P Ramasay is professor of political economy at the Political Science Department, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and has academic interests in Malaysian politics and labour, Malaysia Kini said. He has written quite extensively and is currently focusing on conflict management in Sri Lanka, it added. Malaysia Kini.com is a daily news site launched on 20 November 1999 by journalists unhappy with restrictions on the press.

 

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