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Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA has its reasons for not fulfilling a request from Cambodia to extradite a politician upon her arrival here recently.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said considerations were made in the case of a Cambodian opposition leader, who was released a day after she was detained by the Immigration Department upon arrival on Wednesday.

“We received a letter from the Cambodian government that contained a list of Cambodian politicians’ names.

“In the letter, they requested that if the people on the list come to Malaysia, they should be sent back to Cambodia.

“But this has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

“If, for example, a United States or French citizen arrives in Malaysia, what should I do?” Saifuddin said in a statement on Friday.

Self-exiled Cambodian opposition leader Mu Sochua, who is Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) vice-president, was detained upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang just before midnight on Wednesday, but was released the next day.

It was reported that two other Cambodian opposition leaders also experienced similar predicaments upon arrival at KLIA, but were subsequently released.

Their detention occurred ahead of a planned rally in Cambodia on Friday, in which Sochua and CNRP founder Sam Rainsy had been scheduled to attend.

Saifuddin said neither Sochua nor the other two Cambodians possessed a Cambodian passport when they arrived at KLIA.

This meant that the Malaysian authorities had no power to hold and extradite them based on Cambodia’s request.

It is learnt that Sochua, who is based in the United States, was using an American passport.

“They did not use Cambodian passports, so what can we do?

“They did not come here with Cambodian passports.

“In terms of international (regulations), we have to respect these passport holders,” he said, adding that the trio had a right to come to Malaysia.

Saifuddin said following the case, officers from his ministry had met the Cambodian embassy’s officers to state Malay- sia’s stand on the matter.

“We have explained our position to them.”

He said it was fine if the Cambodian politicians had wanted to meet Malaysian leaders during their time here.

However, he warned them against engaging in political activities while in Malaysia.

“We did not send them back to Cambodia, that’s all.

“We did not fulfil the Cambodian government’s request in which it wanted us to send them back if they arrived here.

“They arrived here not as Cambodian citizens.

“So what can I do? Allow them in. But I hope they will not make Malaysia as a platform to mobilise their political movement,” said Saifuddin.

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