Thursday, March 30, 2006


The Malaysian Parliament was told that the government never paid a US-based lobbyist to arrange for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed to meet US president George (Warlord) Bush in 2002. Foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar repeatedly said the meeting was arranged through "normal" diplomatic channels. He did not explain what he meant by "normal".

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang had asked whether there was any truth that Kuala Lumpur paid USD1.2 million (RM4.6 million) to lobbyist Jack Abramoff to secure a meeting between both leaders in May 2002. The meeting took place in the Oval Office of the White House.

However, Syed Hamid conceded that it was "common practice" among foreign countries to use the services of lobbyists to improve and enhance the existing relationship with Washington and its agencies. Could this be the said "normal" diplomatic channels?

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