Dr M says talks with Australia centred on education, mum on Sirul

Zurairi Ar

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Asean-China Summit in Singapore November 14, 2018. — Picture courtesy of Asean 2018 Secretariat

SINGAPORE, Nov 15 — Sirul Azhar Umar’s repatriation to Malaysia was not raised during bilateral talks with Australia at the sidelines of the 33rd Asean Summit here today, the prime minister indicated.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he spoke “a lot” on education with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and did not respond when asked if the topic of repatriating the former police commando convicted of murdering Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu was raised.

“I talked a lot about education.

“The fact that there are many Australian university branches in Malaysia, and how it helps poorer people get Australian education,” he told reporters.



Earlier this year, Australia agreed to repatriate Sirul after Putrajaya confirmed its commitment towards abolishing the death penalty.

Dr Mahathir also said he chastised Canberra for considering to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but explained that the Australian government said it is still weighing the decision.

“I pointed out that in dealing with terrorism, one has to know the causes. Adding to the causes of terrorism is not going to be helpful,” he said.

Yesterday, Indonesia trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita confirmed that the Australia-Indonesia free trade deal has been put on hold while Australia considers moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

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