Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog provided the following readout on January 17, 2014 of a meeting between Secretary of Defense Hagel and Malaysian Minister of Defense Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein:
“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Malaysian Minister of Defense Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein today at the Pentagon.
Secretary Hagel underscored the U.S. commitment to deepening ties to Malaysia. The two leaders discussed a range of international security issues, including Afghanistan, North Korea, and the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in addressing regional security challenges.
Malaysia is an important partner in Southeast Asia that is making valuable contributions to international security both on its own and in partnership with ASEAN. Secretary Hagel praised Malaysia’s leadership in Southeast Asia.
The secretary and the minister also talked about ways to enhance the defense relationship between the United States and Malaysia, including by enhancing bilateral exercise and training opportunities and exploring expanded defense trade cooperation. The two leaders looked forward to meeting again at the upcoming U.S.-ASEAN informal meeting in Hawaii in April.” (source: Department of Defense http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=16493 ).
Despite very serious concerns regarding Malaysia’s abysmal human rights record which includes sex trafficking of human persons (mostly women and children*), arbitrary arrests, curtailment of freedom of expression and freedom of speech, the failure to establish a moratorium on executions, and the unlawful killing, deaths in custody and torture of those in custody – Secretary Hagel affirmed defense ties with Malaysia?
*Although the US government concedes that the Malaysian government’s efforts to comply with standards to eliminate trafficking under Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the report places Malaysia on a Tier 2 Watch List for a second consecutive year. Countries under the “Tier 2 Watch List” are governments who do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards but are making significant efforts to comply with those standards.Malaysia’s long borders at sea and its borders with Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia make the country geographically strategic for human trafficking transactions. The bulk of the trafficking victims are foreign workers from Indonesia, Nepal, India, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Burma, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam.
See also State Department report on Teir 2 countries involved in sex trafficking http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/210740.pdf