Commonwealth Job Prospects Silencing McKinnon?

Foreign Minister Don McKinnon’s desire for Mahathir Mohamad’s vote for the post of Commonwealth Secretary General seems be stopping a strong New Zealand response to repression in Malaysia, Green Party International spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

“It’s nearly two weeks since Anwar Ibrahim was arrested, and Mr McKinnon has yet to raise the matter with the Malaysian government,” Mr Locke said.

“Mr McKinnon’s only reported comment, that he wants the due process of the law followed, is hardly appropriate when Anwar Ibrahim is jailed under a draconian Internal Security Act, which permits indefinite detention without trial”.

“You can’t help but suspect that Mr McKinnon’s lobbying for the Commonwealth Secretary General’s job is inhibiting a New Zealand response.

“Mr McKinnon may not want to lose Mahathir Mohamad’s vote for the post. He may also be eyeing other votes, from Commonwealth leaders whose own human rights record is suspect, and who would welcome a less interventionist Secretary-General.

“New Zealand deserves better. We have long been friends with the Malaysian people and have a duty to support them in the face of a government crackdown on their democratic rights”, Mr Locke said.