SINGAPORE -- Malaysia is mounting pressure on Singapore to cancel the planned visit of Israeli President Chaim Herzog to the island nation, officials said today.
But Malaysian officials say that despite demonstrations against Herzog's visit and the recall of Malaysia's High Commissioner, the visit will go on as scheduled Tuesday.
Singapore maintains diplomatic relations with Israel, while Malaysia, a Moslem state, is a staunch supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has an office in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
The protests and demonstrations against Singapore reportedly have been orchestrated by leading members of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed's ruling United Malays Organization (UMNO).
However, Mahathir said today the government does not intend to formally protest Herzog's visit Nov. 18 which, he insisted, would be tantamount to interfering in 'Singapore's internal affairs.'
Nevertheless, Mahathir has recalled Malaysia's High Commissioner in Singapore, K. Tharmaratnam, for consultations.
The prime minister said the consultations were to insure that 'bilateral relations between both countries would not be hurt.'
A senior official of the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said the recall 'clearly indicates our displeasure over Herzog's visit to Singapore.'
Malaysian leaders including Defence Minister Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badwin, Education Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kadir Sheikh Fadzir have also protested the visit.
Political parties including Mahathir's National Front coalition and youth, student and social action organizations sent a joint statement to the prime minister recently protesting the visit.
The group, calling itself the Malaysian People's Action Committee, also asked the government to sever rail and air links with Singapore during Herzog's visit.
In a recent demonstration organized by the committee in Kuala Lumpur, 500 people protested Herzog's visit and carried posters saying 'We're are not anti-Jewish ... We're anti-Zionist.'
In another demonstration, about one mile from the border with Singapore, protestors burned the Singaporean and Israeli flags.
Demonstrators from the fundamentalist opposition and Moslem youth groups have criticized Mahathir and his moderate UMNO party for not taking stronger action to prevent the Israeli president's visit.
Herzog is on an 18-day tour of Southeast Asia and the Pacific designed to strengthen international support for Israel and improve economic links.