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Rafidah: Any impact of Bali Blast on tourism business is only temporary

Any impact of the October 12 bombings in Bali on Malaysia’s tourism industry is only temporary, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mrs Rafidah Aziz said….

Any impact of the October 12 bombings in Bali on Malaysia’s tourism industry is only temporary, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mrs Rafidah Aziz said.

Its like the US, after the September 11 (attacks), people don’t want to travel into and out of the US, but now people have come to grips with the situation because governments are taking action on a global basis against terrorism, she said.

Speaking to newsmen after addressing a seminar on Business Opportunities In Malaysia here, she said although Bali is in Asia, the island was actually far away from Malaysia.

Both the US and Indonesian governments suspect the al-Qaeda terrorist movement for the Bali bombings.

Rafidah, in New York on the second leg of a her ministry-organised trade and investment mission to Toronto, New York and St. Louis, also said that no one should cast negative perceptions on Islam following tragedies like the September 11 attacks in the US and the Bali bombings.

Rafidah reiterated that Islam was not synonymous with terrorism as a vast majority of Muslims are fundamentalists who believe in peace, tolerance and harmony.

When we talk about terrorists, it is an act not condoned by Islam. Those people (terrorists) are deviationists, extremists, she said.

The Malaysian government, she said was taking all efforts possible to maintain peace and security, and this includes cracking down on individuals proven to have links to terrorist activities.

She also said the world will have to grapple with severe economic repercussions if the United States attacks Iraq.

A war with Iraq can never be contained only in that part of the world, she said. The US will be the first to feel that impact as prices will go through the ceiling, then you can imagine the impact on international trade. There will be a global impact, she said.

As such, Rafidah said a US military strike against Iraq would force Malaysia, like any other country in the world, to review its economic forecasts.

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