Malaysian boycott is 'indefinite'

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(First Edition)

PARIS (AFX) - Malaysia's boycott of British companies will continue indefinitely, the Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said at the start of a three-day official visit to France.

'Trade goes on as usual, but we will not ever give any more government contracts to British firms,' Dr Mahathir said.

In February, Malaysia imposed an indefinite ban on contracts with British firms following UK press reports of an illegal arms-for-aid package between the two countries and allegations of corruption among Malaysia's ruling party.

The Malaysian government also said it did not need British help to finish its 9bn Malaysian dollar (pounds 2.23bn) second international airport project on time.

Jamilus Hussein, managing director of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Berhad (KLIAB), said the authorities will adopt 'a fast-track approach to achieve the deadline'.

The government awarded the airport contract to an Anglo-Japanese consortium consisting of Marubeni Corp and UK companies including General Electric Co and Trafalgar House. The consortium was dropped on February 25 after the ban as imposed.