KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 – No Islamic State (IS) jihadists have entered Iraq directly through Malaysia, Iraqi ambassador to Malaysia Prof Dr Basim Hattab Al-Tumma, said today. He said this was because the embassy here had very stringent visa processing protocol to ensure that no Malaysians enter their country to join the IS fighters. Visas were only issued to government officials and Petronas staff who were working in Oil and Gas Industry in Iraq, he told Bernama here.
Dr Basim said that Iraq was also as concerned as the Malaysian government and did not wish to see Malaysian youths being misled to join the jihadist movement which it considered as unIslamic. He said that it would help Malaysia if it reopens its embassy in Baghdad so that it would monitor its citizens in Iraq more effectively. At present the Malaysian Embassy in Jordan covers Iraq. Dr Basim said that contrary to press reports, his government was in full control of the situation in the north of its country and that the IS fighters were now confined to a small area near Mosul.
“Their advancement towards its capital city Baghdad had been halted,” he said. Dr Basim said his government’s foreign policy now was to forge close ties with all countries of the world. “Our new constitution also did not discriminate shiahs, sunnis, christians and jews and allowed all its citizens complete religious freedom,” he said.
Dr Basim disclosed that Iraq would play a pivotal role in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to help unite the muslim ummah. He said that his country would encourage Malaysian companies to participate in the development of Iraq. “We are embarking on huge infrastructure development projects, and Malaysian companies could take advantage of it,” he added. At present the National Oil Company – PETRONAS is the only Malaysian business entity that was actively participating in the country’s petro-gas sector, he said.