US threatens sanctions over missing engines and church attacks
Tue, Jan 19, 2010
SHAH ALAM: The United States may slap economic sanctions if the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government fails to resolve two key issues considered crucial by the international community, according to diplomatic sources.
The latest edition of the Pakatan Rakyat weekly, Suara Keadilan, quoting the sources as saying that the administration of President Barrack Obama (picture) is demanding a detailed explanation from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s government on the two missing F-5E jet engines and the series of arson attacks on churches and other places of worship over the last two weeks.
It also quoted Wisma Putra sources as saying if Najib viewed these issues lightly then Washington could slap economic sanctions on Malaysia.
The United States is Malaysia’s number one trading partner and in recent years has been ranked among the top three foreign investors. In 2008, it was the second largest investor, with investments totalling RM8.7 billion.
Any economic sanction will have a painful effect on the country, which is already suffering from a large deficit.
Wisma Putra sources said Washington’s diplomatic note reflects the seriousness of the Obama administration, which until now had only voiced their objections with statements.
“After this, if the government still dilly-dallies and takes no serious move to resolve the issues, heavier pressure will be instituted, including economic sanctions,” said one source.
In an SMS revert to Suara Keadilan, the US embassy’s media officer, Tina Malone, said Washington took a serious view of media reports of the missing jet engines, which were manufactured in the US.
“The US Government views seriously reports of the missing F-5E jet engines supplied to Malaysia,” said the SMS.
“The US Government has asked the Malaysian Government to provide a comprehensive report in relation to investigations into the matter.”
One of the Wisma Putra sources also confirmed that Waashington had sent a diplomatic note to the Malaysian Government over the petrol bomb attacks and vandalism on Christian churches.
America’s fear was underscored by its Commissioner for International Religious Freedom, Leonard Leo, who said: “How the Malaysian leadership deals with this issue will determine the political and economic future of the country.”