MALAYSIA has reconfirmed its commitment to Julia Gillard’s stalled Malaysian Solution on border security, despite Labor’s inability to win parliamentary support for the deal.
The Prime Minister met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Perth today ahead of tomorrow’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, with the pair emerging to recommit to her proposal to send 800 asylum-seekers who arrive in Australia by boat to Kuala Lumpur in exchange for 4000 proven refugees.
The opposition and the Greens have refused to back the deal, with Ms Gillard instead opting for onshore processing, with asylum-seekers to be released into the community pending assessment of their claims.
While Labor had proposed the Malaysia Solution as a means to discourage people-smuggling, it has adopted the political tactic of settling for domestic processing on the basis that it can blame Tony Abbott for any resultant increase in boats arriving off northern Australia.
Today a spokesman for Ms Gillard said the two leaders discussed efforts to combat people-smuggling.
“They agreed on the importance of regional solutions to the challenge of irregular migration,” the spokesman said.
“Both prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the Malaysia-Australia transfer agreement as an innovative and effective approach to combating people-smuggling.”
The had also discussed the CHOGM and the need for reform of the commonwealth, as well as their tactics ahead of the upcoming East Asia Summit in Bali.
“The prime ministers agreed on the vital need to contain the economic crisis in eurozone countries,” the spokesman said.
Ms Gillard has a busy day of bilateral meetings today before tomorrow’s formal CHOGM opening.
Queen Elizabeth has also arrived in Perth, where hundreds of police from the eastern states have been brought in to help with security.
Source : The Australian