‘All stakeholders in Malaysia and elsewhere, must realize that in this modern global village, where time is of the essence, and where foreign countries depend more on their own intelligence gathering, and updates, diplomatic packages from their diplomats rather than rely solely on third parties who cannot even protect their own to safeguard global citizens!’
Malaysia ASEAN/APEC Lead Consumerist Dr Jacob George says: Travel Advisories – Every State Department’s Duty to Protect Their Own!
It is important for all nations to protect its own citizens whether it is the US, Australia, the UK or other European countries and their advice can be any matter from advice to its citizens to avoid eastern Sabah or for that matter even shopping, night clubs and entertainment outlets and this should be respected by all parties devoid of uncalled for sensitivities!
Some time ago it was Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Rod Smith who had reiterated their advisory would remain as long as the threat of cross-border kidnappings existed in Malaysia!
However, instead of being overly sensitive, we should be encouraged that all advisory has a function!
We cannot deny or pretend, all is well in Sabah’s east coast, where in the past few years, we have seen cases of kidnappings for ransom, carried out by Abu Sayyaf militants from the southern Philippines.
We have witnessed thefts, gruesome murders, and the agony of families pleading for the safe return of their loved ones kidnapped!
Malaysian politicians should know that irrespective of what it is the narrative in Malaysia whether it is the gruesome murder of the Mongolian model, Altantuya Shariibuu or the inexplicable presence of a convicted murderer therein now in Australia or what was exposed through the various roller coaster exchanges in that public inquiry of kidnapped Raymond Koh and perhaps soon in other cases of missing persons – Joshua Hilmy, his wife Ruth and social activist Amri Che Mat.
Malaysians are not stupid neither the international audience which includes respective intelligence units of those countries!
Irrespective of what those struggling to uphold justice, fair play, the rule of law says publicly – we cannot deny we are in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
All stakeholders in Malaysia and elsewhere, must realize that in this modern global village, where time is of the essence, and where foreign countries depend more on their own intelligence gathering, and updates, diplomatic packages from their diplomats rather than rely solely on third parties to safeguard one’s own citizens!
Secondly, there is no legal necessity to start a dialogue, or check with any parties whosoever, before issuing any advisory, whose sole focus is the safety of one’s own citizens!
If some “juvenile stakeholders’’ fail to understand this fundamental right, one is lost in the woods and totally ignorant, how the international community and governments, are expected to act and whose felt needs and rights they are expected to protect.
Instead of getting upset and issuing defensive press releases, which is unprofessional, it is also pertinent to understand what a travel advisory is?
A travel warning, travel alert, or travel advisory is an official warning statement, issued by a government agency to provide information about the relative safety or not, of traveling to or visiting one or more specific foreign countries or destinations.
In this latest case”, the United States has issued a Warning, when they want their citizens and others, to consider very carefully whether they should go to a country at all or frequent a nightspot because of intelligence reports of “coordinated drink-spiking” cases targeting foreign nationals.
There is nothing personal or political about this!
And examples of the necessity, for such acts internationally are unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks or an impending one – basically, a clear and present danger!
Other reasons may include, strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; Zika, or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks or kidnappings by armed groups and terrorists, as was the case in point earlier!
In some cases, it could be an action, taken as a final straw, after being convinced that there is a total loss of confidence, competence or professionalism in some external parties handling an issue based on a “checklist of concerns” on the matter of the country issuing the advisory.
To be honest, there is absolutely no reason in law, convention or in the diplomatic rule or play book that there should be consultation of any level!
It would be foolish and out of the times, for any quarter to think like that or burst out like babies when reality bites!
It shows that we are not aligned, how others in responsible and professional positions, carry out their duties, or “duty of care”, guided by their respective constitutions, laws of the land and convention.
Instead of “mourning and groaning”, professionals in countries cited in advisories, should do some earnest soul searching, what brought this state of affairs and how to regain the trust, confidence and respect of the global community going forward!
Anything less – is running away from the core issues which we super specialize in?