COURTESY CALL: Zakaria (centre) with visitors from CJA Sarawak at his office. From left are Peter Sibon (CJA Sarawak secretary), Bong Siak Boon (exco member), Rosalind Yang Misieng (exco member), Caroline Jackson (chairperson), Adeline Leong (assistant secretary) and Alice Wee (deputy chairperson).
LONDON: Many non-government organisations (NGOs) in the United Kingdom who are said to be championing the cause of Malaysia including Sarawak have hidden and personal agendas, says the Malaysian High Commissioner to the UK – Datuk Seri Zakaria Sulong.
“What we do is collect reports on all the good and bad things written or said about the country and send them back to Malaysia. Issues range from politics to petty issues like animals in zoos and the Penans in Sarawak.
“We will evaluate whether there is a need for a rebuttal. If need be we will do it,” Zakaria told visiting members of the Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) Sarawak branch who paid him a courtesy call at his office here recently.
He said one of such NGOs actively involved in discrediting the Sarawak government in the UK was the Bruno Manser Foundation (BMF).
“They have their own perceived ideas and they refused to accept facts. Many of their MPs cannot do much because they (NGOs) are their voters and are very influential.”
Zakaria also urged Malaysians living in the UK to register with the Malaysian High Commission office to assist them in times of need.
Currently, only about one per cent of the estimated 70,000 Malaysians living in the UK have registered with the embassy.
On another issue, the Zakaria revealed that there were some 14,000 Malaysian students currently pursuing tertiary education in the UK. About two thirds of them were private students while the number of government-sponsored students was declining..
On another issue, Zakaria said it was not easy to ascertain the number of Malaysians caught by the authorities for trafficking drugs to the country..
“The authority here respects the rights of the individuals and given the right to a lawyer for anyone caught committing drug-related cases,” he said.