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Malaysian PM to meet Pope to establish ties

Malaysia may establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican, reports say.

  • Malaysia
  • July 4, 2011
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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak travel to Rome this month and meet with Pope Benedict to establish diplomatic ties, Malaysian reports say.

The Malaysian Insider said that it understands the prime minister’s personal visit is to help repair frayed ties arising from the Catholic Church’s legal suit to use “Allah” to refer to the Christian god in its Bahasa Malaysia publication. The case is pending in the Court of Appeal after the church won the right in the High Court on December 31, 2009.

“It’s a private visit, as an individual. It’s not an official visit . . . because there are no diplomatic ties,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

But the sources also said Najib would be accompanied by government officials, including from the foreign ministry and Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, who is to act as the go-between, the paper said.

“He’s a decorated leader and the best qualified among the Christians,” the source said of Pakiam.

Malaysia is among 17 nations with whom the Vatican has yet to have formal relations despite the Church’s long presence in the country. Of the 17, nine are Muslim countries while another four are communist governments including China, North Korea, Laos and Vietnam.

Najib’s private visit, however, is being criticised by some quarters, who described it as “an election ploy to gain support from Christians”.


Najib to meet Pope Benedict, seeks diplomatic links (Malaysian Insider)
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