Eight -point formula to end the double diplomatic and IT crisis precipitated by the Palm Court police mistreatment of Indian IT professionals to restore Malaysia-India relations and repair Malaysia's dented IT image

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Friday): The Indian Express today in a report headlined "Heat on, no to Malaysian minister visit" reported: (

"New Delhi, March 13: In another clear signal to Kuala Lumpur of its strong resentment over the ill-treatment of Indian IT professionals by Malaysian authorities, New Delhi has apparently expressed inability to host Malaysian Health Minister Chua Jin Meng towards March-end saying that the proposed dates were inconvenient.

"Scheduled to hold talks with the Indian leadership including his counterpart Sushma Swaraj here, Meng's visit was a routine affair till the incident in Kuala Lumpur early this week. The decision to not host Meng this month, sources said, is indicative of the hardening of New Delhi's posture towards Kuala Lumpur.

"The brewing dissent with Kuala Lumpur was reflected when the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Navtej Sarna made it clear on Wednesday that the incident had undoubtedly 'cast a shadow' over bilateral relations. As it transpires, the shadow is longer and in the process has created a cloud of suspicion."

Because of the scandalous Palm Court police mistreatment of the Indian IT professionals, in utter violation of their human rights, in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, and the foot-dragging and insensitivity of the government to the response of outrage of the Indian Government, the diplomatic row between Malaysia and India has threatened to become a major rupture in the history of bilateral relations with ties between two countries coming under a cloud.

Indian newspaprers reported that the Malaysian Entrepreneur Development Minister, Datuk Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, who was in India for an international conference when the Palm Court incident erupted, had "expressed regrets" over a "most unfortunate incident" and "regretted excesses against Indian nationals by Kuala Lumpur police". (

Nazri expressed these sentiments in his meeting with the Indian Human Resources Development Minister, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, in New Delhi. Dr. Joshi demanded strict action against the guilty authorities whose high-handedness led to the Palm Court incident, pointing out that the Indian government allowed professionals and students to travel abroad only after proper verification.

According to the Indian press report, Nazri said his government "is seriously looking into the matter" and "action will be taken against the police and authorities" found guilty. Nazri admitted that the Malaysian authorities committed excesses and victims were not all illegal immigrants and included IT professionals.

Nazri adknowledged that excesses could not be condoned even against illegal immigrants and Malaysia did not condone the incident nor had any intention to do so.

However, Nazri's fence-mending efforts during his New Delhi visit had been largely nullified by the insensitive government responses back home, not only by the initial statements by the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, the Deputy Home Minister, Zainal Abidin Zin and the Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry parliamentary secretary Chia Kwang Chye, but also by the police reactions and what happened in Parliament yesterday.

Yesterday, the Kuala Lumpur City Police Chief Deputy Comm Datuk Dell Akhbar Khan announced that the city police disciplinary division had been directed to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the alleged mistreatment of Indian IT professionals in the Palm Court incident.

He said the division will record statements from the alleged victims and police personnel who were involved in the operation and that disciplinary action would be taken against the police personnel if there was any wrongdoing.

While welcoming the police acknowledgement of the need for a thorough probe, the investigation by the city police disciplinary division can have no credibility and is therefore unacceptable, as the City deputy police chief Datuk Ahmad Bahrin Idrus had already denied on Tuesday allegations of police mistreatment of the Indian IT professionals after an initial investigation.
b Furthermore, the investigation must be completed and its outcome announced in the shortest possible time, without any undue delay. Until the outcome of the investigation, the entire team of 67 officers involved in the Palm Court incident should be suspended from duty to demonstrate seriousness in dealing with an incident which had plunged Malaysia-India relations to an all-time low.

What happened in Parliament yesterday had also aggravated the double crisis faced by Malaysia as a result of the Palm Court incident - the crisis in Malaysia-India diplomatic relations and the crisis to Malaysia's ambition to become the IT hub of the world, with the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) taking on Singapore ONE (the island republic's national broadband infrastructure initiative) and even the Silicon Valley.

As DAP leaders and MPs had promised the Indian IT professionals in our fact-finding visit to Palm Court on Wednesday night, DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan raised the Palm Court incident in yesterday's debate on the Royal Address.

There was not only no outrage at the police mistreatment of the Indian IT professionals and support for swift government responses to address the twin diplomatic and IT crisis confronting the nation, Barisan Nasional MPs led by the new Barisan Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed (Shah Alam) attacked Fong for espousing the cause of "foreigners" and alleged that the allegations of police mistreatment of the Indian IT professionals were all "lies".

With the chairman of the Barisan Bachbenchers' Club adopting such an unreasonable and short-sighted stance on the Palm Court incident, how can the Malaysian government convince New Delhi that it really regrets and is contrite over the excesses, gross abuses of power and blatant violations of human rights perpetrated by the police against the Indian IT professionals in Brickfields on Sunday?

If the chairman of the Barisan Backbenchers Club had been as responsible as Fong Po Kuan, speaking in Parliament on matters after getting first-hand information, Parliament could at least contribute positively to the restoration of Malaysia-India relations instead of doing the opposite.

I will be submitting to the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi an eight -point formula to end the double diplomatic and IT crisis precipitated by the Palm Court police mistreatment of Indian IT professionals to restore Malaysia-India relations and to repair Malaysia's dented IT image, so that Malaysia will continue to be taken seriously as a key and important player in the global IT arena.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman