Exports to Malaysia soar despite dam row

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BRITISH exports to Malaysia rose 81 per cent in the first six months of this year, despite Kuala Lumpur's ban on government contracts for British companies after the Pergau Dam affair, writes Russell Hotten.

The surge was caused partly by equipment and supplies brought in to build the dam. Mahathir Mohamad, the Malaysian Prime Minister, announced the ban after British newspapers claimed Malaysian politicians had been offered bribes for contracts.

However, Malaysian exports to the UK have fallen 24.5 per cent as the country struggles against a rise in its currency. The British high commission in Kuala Lumpur said yesterday that UK exports rose to pounds 666m from pounds 367.7m in the first six months of 1994. Imports from Malaysia fell from pounds 769.7 to pounds 580.6m.

The Malaysian high commissioner in London said the ban had no effect on private sector dealings between the two countries.

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