Australia pressures Malaysia on people-smuggling

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6, 2009 (AFP) – Malaysia on Monday appealed for international help to curb people-smuggling, amid talks with Australian leaders who are pushing for action to close down illegal migration routes. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is due to arrive here later Monday to pressure Malaysia on the thousands of illegal immigrants hit by wars and the global slump who are reportedly headed to Australia.

After talks with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, his Malaysian counterpart Anifah Aman said the country could not alone stop its territory being used as a migration route.

“This is not just Malaysia’s problem, there is a pull-push factor. We have to look at the overall scenario, the origin of these people, what problems they are facing and how we can help them,” he told a joint conference.

“Malaysia has a very long coastline and this is where we need assistance from other countries,” he said, adding that the country needed extra funding and equipment to reduce the passage of illegal migrants.

Rudd and Smith will later make a rare joint call on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during a flying visit en route to Germany and the 17-nation Major Economies Forum (MEF) in Italy.
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