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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Malaysia denies harbouring terrorists
Malaysian reading newspaper
Malaysia wants hard evidence before it will act
Malaysia has denied harbouring terrorists after reports named the country among a list of nine nations told by the United States to hand over suspects or "face the consequences".

We are certainly not a country that provides refuge to terrorists

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar
Ministers said terrorist activities in Malaysia were "under control", and demanded that the US provide proof if it wanted suspects to be handed over.

The comments came in response to a report in a Beirut -based Arabic weekly, Almoharrer, that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had asked nine countries to hand over terrorist suspects in the wake of the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said if there was evidence of someone committing an act of terrorism, that person would be brought to trial.

Kuala Lumpur's twin Petronas Towers
Kuala Lumpur's twin Petronas Towers are now seen as a potential terrorist target
He said the authorities would co-operate with the US Government and exchange information if there was an official request for help. So far, he said, there had been no official request.

Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak called on the US to state clearly the assistance it needed and furnish proof if it wanted Malaysia to hand over suspects.

The Almoharrer newspaper named nine countries on the FBI's list: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Correspondents say the Almoharrer is a pro-Syrian newspaper.

The BBC's Simon Ingram in Kuala Lumpa
"Solidarity with a wider Muslim community in peril is evident"
See also:

19 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Asian casualties mount in New York
04 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia's fearsome security law
15 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Malaysia's strongman Mahathir
23 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Mahathir hints at leadership change
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