Reply to Than Tai Hing
Undersecretary of Information and Public Diplomacy,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia
RE: Your Letter in the Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2010
As an American ex-patriate living for several years as a guest in your country I have allowed myself the vanity of believing that perhaps I am in a position to understand Malaysia and Malaysian foreign policy better than the average world citizen. In the case of Malaysia’s condemnation of Israel’s heavy handed dealing of the flotilla, itself intent on breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza, I share some of the concerns of many Malaysians and many people around the world. However, I believe the consistent bias of Malaysia’s condemnation of Israel and criticism of the USA has been so clearly one-sided that it is obvious to any observer where the bias lies. If Malaysia’s government is truly peace loving and truly committed to human rights it must first adopt the language of that position consistently. For example, when the Taliban execute a seven year old boy, such as occurred recently, where is the outrage of your government and its citizens? You seem to have been too pre-occupied with condeming Israel to even take notice. It is also perplexing to me that when Malaysian citizens wish to demonstrate against U.S. policy at our emabassy, there are no police to secure the area, and the demonstration is allowed to continue. When Malaysian citizens wish to demonstrate against their own government’s policies there is no restraint on the part of the authorities in dispatching police and soldiers to quell the disturbance. As long as these contradictions are so apparent, Malaysia will be understood by Americans to have actually little to do with championing fair, just, and humane ideology, which embrace universal ideals, and more to do with the double standards reflecting its anti-western bias. You must bridge this gap if you are to succeed in addressing the American people who contend with multiple examples of double standards each and very day in a much more public forum than that exists in Malaysia.