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Cablegate: Malaysia: Welcome Cable for Staffdel Blank

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKL #0421/01 1440846
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230846Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1031
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 3288
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 2522
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 1658

UNCLAS KUALA LUMPUR 000421

CODEL
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR H AND EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP PGOV OTRA AMGT ASEC AFIN THKSJA MY
SUBJECT: MALAYSIA: WELCOME CABLE FOR STAFFDEL BLANK

REF: STATE 52114

1. Embassy Kuala Lumpur warmly welcomes Professional Staff Member,
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Jonah Blank to Malaysia from
May 28 to June 3, 2008. The purpose of the trip is research of
issues before the committee, particularly those relating to the
insurgency in southern Thailand.

2. Embassy control officer for Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu is
Political Officer, William (Gary) Gray, Telephone: (603) 2168-4891;
Fax: (603) 2168-5165; Cellular: (60) 12-267-5931; E-mail:
GrayWg1@state.gov. Embassy control officer for Kuching is: Daniel P.
Claffey, Telephone (603) 2168-5118; Cellular (60) 12-235-9582;
E-mail ClaffeyDP@state.gov.

3. HOTEL & AIRPORT TRANSFER:

HOTEL: Reservations have been made at the Hotel J.W. Marriott in
Kuala Lumpur for the night of May 28, 2008 for a non-smoking room at
US$110 net with breakfast (183 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
55100, Malaysia, Tel: (603) 2715-9000 FAX: (603) 2715-7013).
Confirmation number is: 145605.

You will be met at the airport by control officer and expeditor.

Reservations have been made at New Pacific Hotel in Kota Bahru from
May 29 to 30 (1 night) at RM288 (approx. $90) net with breakfast.
(Section 26, Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, 15400, Kota Bahru Kelantan
Malaysia. Tel: 609 - 745 6555 Fax: 609 - 745 6400 / 609 - 745
6500.) Confirmation number is 97369.

Reservations have been made at The Holiday Inn Kuching from May 30
to June 2 (3 nights) at RM316.25 Nett(approx. $97)with breakfast.
(Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tel: 082-418911 Fax: 082-227296.)
Confirmation number is 64750209.


4. BLACKBERRY support in Malaysia is provided by MAXIS help-line
toll-free 1-800-82-1919 (1-800-82-8899). Upon arrival, please set
your network selection to manual and choose MAXIS. (e.g., For a
BlackBerry 7230 - select the Options icon, select Network, click the
wheel on Automatic and select Change Option, select Manual, click
the wheel on Scan for Available Networks.)

5. Malaysia Security Threat Assessment:

A. Crime: Malaysia's overall crime rate is medium and violent
crimes involving tourists are relatively uncommon. Most criminal
activity directed against foreigners is limited to non-violent
crimes such as petty theft, credit card fraud, and residential
burglary. Purse snatchings are common, and usually perpetrated by
thieves on motorcycles or in cars who grab purses and then speed
off. These thefts occur at all hours and often in front of large
groups of witnesses. Women walking by themselves or with small
children are the most common targets. People have been injured or
killed by being pulled to the ground by their purse straps as the
thieves speed off. Purses or shoulder bags should be closed and
tucked under the arm and the strap held, but not wrapped around your
arm or shoulder. If your bag is grabbed, immediately let go of it
and do not put up a struggle. To avoid becoming the victim of a
purse snatching, be alert and aware of your surroundings. Walk
facing traffic, preferably with a group of people, and avoid poorly
lit streets and narrow alleys. If possible, walk on the sidewalk
away from the curb. Keep a low profile and do not carry large sums
of cash or wear expensive jewelry. If possible, leave wallets or
purses at home and just carry necessary cash and ID in a front
pocket.

Credit card fraud continues to be a problem in Malaysia. Travelers
should avoid using credit cards, if possible. Credit card numbers
should be closely safeguarded at all times. Visitors are encouraged
to bring traveler's checks to pay hotel bills directly.
Unfortunately, the Embassy Cashier does not have sufficient cash
reserves to support cash payment of hotel bills for visitors. ATM
machines are prevalent throughout Malaysia and there have been few
reports of fraud connected with their use. Travelers, however,
should only use ATM machines co-located with a bank. ATM users
should also exercise the same types of caution using ATMs as in the
U.S. Personal checks can be cashed at the Embassy Cashier for
daily operational needs.

If you need emergency police assistance, contact the Royal Malaysia
Police by dialing 999 or 03-2115-9999. The Fire Brigade can be
reached by dialing 994.

B. Terrorism: Travelers should consult the Department's Consular
Information Sheet for updated information concerning travel to
Malaysia, especially if travel to the coastal areas of eastern Sabah
or Southern Thailand is planned. Travelers should also be aware of
the Department's periodic Worldwide Cautions re-emphasizing that US
citizens abroad may be targets of terrorist actions. The Consular
Information Sheet and Public Announcement are available on the
Department website at http://travel.state.gov.

C. Vehicle safety: Vehicles in Malaysia are right-hand drive and
traffic moves on the left side of the road. Traffic in Malaysia is
heavy, especially in and around the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Motorbikes weave in and out of traffic, posing a hazard for both
drivers and pedestrians. Laws against drinking and driving are
strictly enforced with stiff penalties. There have been recent
incidents of road rage from individuals in the aftermath of
accidents. You should avoid escalating any confrontations if you
are involved in an accident.

D. Criminal penalties: Many criminal penalties are quite severe in
Malaysia, and they are enforced uniformly. Firearms offenses carry
strict penalties. There is a mandatory death penalty for drug
trafficking.

E. Airline restrictions: Malaysia, as well as many other countries
in Asia and around the world, has imposed restrictions on liquids in
carry-on luggage. Travelers should check on the current guidance at
the airports they are transiting and departing from prior to packing
their carry-on bag.

F. Emergency contact information: U.S. citizens are encouraged to
register with the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. The Embassy can be
contacted by telephone at (603) 2168-5000, or by e-mail at
klconsular@state.gov. If you need security assistance please
contact the RSO at 2168-5111 or 2168-5033. After hours, contact the
Marine Security Guard at Post One at 2168-4959. For other
after-hours emergencies, please contact the Embassy duty officer at
(012) 218-4691.

KEITH

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