KUALA LUMPUR: Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming has urged Malaysians to learn from the resistance put up by the American media and civic groups against US President Donald Trump.
He said Malaysians should aspire to become like those Americans who were challenging the Trump administration.
“The civil societies and independent media are reacting to what Trump is doing and we can see the check and balance happening in his administration,” Ong said yesterday at a forum at the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights in Bangsar.
The forum discussed an executive order that Trump signed on Monday to block citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. It was a revision of an earlier order that provoked protests at American airports and elsewhere and was ultimately blocked by a federal appeals court.
Ong, who is a DAP member, said the vigorous checks and balances in the US government were possible because both sides of the political divide had built up strong institutions over time.
“This is something we can aspire to so that regardless of who is in power, there will be a strong check and balance.”
He said Trump’s travel ban also affected Malaysia because the country was a transit stop for many refugees.
“According to the United Nations, there are about 150,000 refugees in Malaysia,” he said. “Refugees get registered when they want to get the UNHCR card and when they want to be processed to go on to other countries, and one of these countries is the US.”
Ong also urged the government to legalise refugees in the country.
“They are already here working illegally,” he said. “Legalising them will ensure that they are treated like human beings and that they are paid the minimum wage.”
AFP reported earlier that the White House, in revising the travel ban, aimed to avoid a repeat of the confusion caused by the first ban, which was imposed with no notice and little preparation one week into Trump’s presidency.
The new order continues to impose a 90-day ban on travellers, but it removes Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens are barred and it exempts permanent residents and current visa holders. Furthermore, the restrictions do not go into effect until March 16, giving travellers some days to prepare for the changes.