Malaysia says US wrong to warn of Borneo threat

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s government has urged the United States to review what it called a misleading travel advisory warning of possible attacks on foreigners on Borneo island.

The U.S. warned its citizens last week that criminal and terrorist groups could be plotting attacks in Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state in Borneo. The alert urged Americans to “avoid or use extreme caution” especially when traveling to remote island resorts in Sabah.

A Malaysian Foreign Ministry official met with the U.S. ambassador to the country, James R. Keith, on Monday to emphasize that the security in Sabah was “not as perceived” in the advisory, the ministry said in a statement.

Foreign Ministry Deputy Secretary General Radzi Abdul Rahman told Keith that the warning “could create a wrong, misleading and negative impression to the outside world on the security situation in Malaysia,” according to the statement issued late Monday.

“Foreign travelers and tourists need not be unduly worried when coming to Sabah as the situation there is peaceful,” the statement added.

A U.S. Embassy representative in Kuala Lumpur declined to comment.

The U.S. advisory did not give details of the possible threat, but noted that al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf militants based in the southern Philippines — a short boat ride from Sabah — have kidnapped foreigners from Sabah’s secluded resort areas in the past.