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Sep 10, 2008

Handphones And Passports Not Confiscated - MP

TAIPEI: A BN MP interviewed by Sin Chew Daily's correspondent in Taiwan refuted the claim that the passports and handphones of MPs currently on a study tour in Taiwan are being confiscated so that they are out of reach by Pakatan Rakyat.

MCA's MP for Gelang Patah Tan Ah Heng showed her passport and handphone to our correspondent in Taipei, saying, "They're all here! All those are rumours. Taiwan has a very good agricultural sector, and we are here to learn about their agriculture."

Some of the MPs and their assistants bought a copy of the local United Daily News, and were greeted by the headline on page 4: "Shunning Mutiny! 49 Malaysian MPs From Ruling Coalition Sent Off To Taiwan Ahead Of Confidence Vote."

Gerakan's MP for Simpang Renggam Liang Teck Meng said, "No kidnapping. No party-hopping. All these are part of their psychological warfare."

On whether Anwar was in touch with them, Liang said no.

"Will you go back early?"

"No. We want to properly study the agriculture here."

Hotel Packed With Reporters

At about 7.00 a.m. Tuesday, Sheraton Hotel in downtown Taipei was thronged by a large crowd of reporters, including those from the island's major TV stations.

Some of the MPs saw the transit paper Upaper (a complimentary paper published by the UDN Group) in the hand of Sin Chew Daly's correspondent in Taipei, which carried the news of Malaysian MPs' trip to Taiwan on its front page. Some of the MPs saw the news translated by Upaper from foreign newswire, which said Malaysian MPs were sent off en masse to prevent "kidnapping," and dismissed the report as "ridiculous."

BN Backbenchers Club executive secretary Huan Cheng Guan said he came from Penang, and knew that Taiwan was very successful in its agricultural development. So he joined the study tour with other MPs to learn more about it. He was sending SMS messages from Sheraton Hotel, proving that his handphone had not been confiscated.

MP for Sarikei Ding Kuong Hiing said he loved Taiwan's dragon fruit and hoped to learn more about its agriculture. He said an arrangement had been made to meet Wang Jin-pyng, president of Taiwan's Legislative Yuan.

Last Minute Arrangement

Personnel in Taiwan said the delegation had originally planned to set off for Yilan at 8.00 a.m., but as they arrived very late and slept late on Monday, the trip was postponed until 10.00 a.m.

The staff at Shangrila Leisure Farm in Yilan county have been instructed not to disclose anything on the Malaysian MPs' itineraries.

Yilan County Agricultural Department personnel said they received the fax from Taiwan's foreign ministry as late as 8 September, in which they were requested to make arrangements for the Malaysian MPs to visit agricultural facilities in the county.

At 4.30 p.m. Tuesday, Yilan county chief Lu Kuo-Hua and personnel from the county office will entertain the visiting Malaysian MPs.

The Malaysian MPs will put up a night in Yilan Tuesday, and proceed to the southern port city of Kaohsiung by high speed train Wednesday, and then visit the Pingtung Technological University.


According to the news reports in Taiwan, Malaysia has now learned to apply the "kidnapping" tactics common during the island's election wars.

The Malaysian MPs have remained in very low profile during their visit. They put up at Sheraton Taipei on the first night, and enjoyed the seafood dinner arranged for them in the hotel. With rich experiences in hosting Muslim guests, Sheraton Taipei provided halal dinner for the MPs, while kiblat signs are clearly marked in their rooms.

Taiwan's foreign ministry emphasised that all the itineraries had been arranged by Malaysia, and the ministry only helped make some arrangements on administrative items.

Official: Not Arranged By Taiwan Foreign Ministry

Foreign ministry's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs director Yu Te-sheng said the foreign ministry refused to comment or speculate on the political motives behind Malaysian MPs' visit as reported on the Malaysian media, adding that the ministry had not taken any initiative to make arrangements for the trip.

Yu said, as he was told, the trip would focus on the agricultural development in Taiwan.

He emphasised that this was not an official trip, and the Malaysian MPs would not be accompanied by any representative from the foreign ministry. The delegation also would not pay a courtesy visit to the foreign ministry, he added. (Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)


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