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ARKIB : 03/09/1999

Malaysia To Set Up Kosovo Relief Aid Coordination Centre

YAN Sept 2 - Malaysia is considering setting up a centre to coordinate medical relief aid and missions to help Kosovo war victims, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said.

The proposed centre will, among other things, coordinate deployment of medical volunteers to serve the devastated country recovering from prolonged ethnic conflicts.

Syed Hamid said the government was taking the initiative following feedback from Malaysian medical teams whose Kosovo relief efforts were arranged by a United States-based volunteer organisation.

''From the feedback we reckon that Kosovo is in dire need of medical aid and the government, on its part, feels that it needs to coordinate these voluntary medical missions,'' he said.

Syed Hamid told reporters this after attending a meet-the-people session at Sungai Lintang in Ulu Sedaka, near here last night.

According to Syed Hamid, several other countries already have such coordination centres run by their NGOs and government.

He said his ministry was studying the financial and other implications of setting up s6uch a centre before making a commitment.

Donations for the Kosovo action fund now totalling RM4 million would be handed over to Kosovo leaders soon for rebuilding and repairing damaged schools and mosques, he said.

Malaysians donated RM3 million of the quantum while the remainder came from the government.

On this week's East Timor referendum, Syed Hamid said Malaysia would recognise whatever the outcome whether the people there chose independence or remain autonomous within Indonesia.

At the function, Syed Hamid, who is an Umno Supreme Council member, received 133 applications from former PAS members in Ulu Sedaka and Sungai Lintang to join Umno.

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