DAP calls for suspension of the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact signed last August and demand for retraction of Howard’s doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive attack against terrorism in Southeast Asia
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The smug and supercilious stance of Australian Prime Minister, John Howard that his repeated declaration for three consecutive days about the right of unilateral pre-emptive military attack against terrorists overseas had not damaged Australia’s relations with the Southeast Asian nations has added insult to injury to his belligerence and downright contempt for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of ASEAN members.
In dismissing the undivided protest and outrage expressed throughout Southeast Asia to his pernicious doctrine, Howard is acting no differently from a bully telling the world that his victims are not aggrieved by his noxious conduct.
This has now been further compounded by the preposterous accusation by senior MPs from Howard’s Coalition like Liberal MP David Jull that the Southeast Asian countries had over-reacted to Howard’s declaration – as if they were surprised by the fierce nationalist spirit to be found in the countries in the region who could not be lulled into subordination or subservience.
May be, Howard and his apologists should publicly declare that they fully respect the reciprocal right of any Southeast Asian country to launch a pre-emptive attack in Australia, without agreement and prior warning, to remove any perceived threat on Australian soil to the state concerned!
Howard’s doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive attack has not only made nonsense of the United Nations Charter but also the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact signed by both countries in August last year to share intelligence and enhance bilateral co-operation to combat internationally co-ordinated terrorism.
What co-operation does Australia want when it shows utter contempt of the Malaysian government and people with its public declaration of the right to unilateral pre-emptive attack against Malaysia and other neighbouring Southeast Asian countries? Or is Malaysia excluded from Howard’s “strike-first” doctrine?
This is not the language of co-operation but of big-power hegemony, and the reason why the support by US President Bush for Howard’s declaration of pre-emptive strike is a negative rather than a positive in the eyes of Southeast Asia. Malaysians and Southeast Asians will not forget Howard’s infamous 1999 Australian Bulletin interview as the self-proclaimed deputy sheriff to the US of President Bush in the region!
Howard’s recalcitrant assertion of the right to unilateral pre-emptive military attack against terrorists in any Southeast Asian country, regardless of national sovereignty, regional concerns or international law, has rendered the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact, as well as similar pacts which Australia had entered into with Indonesia and Thailand, utterly meaningless.
For this reason, DAP calls on the Cabinet to suspend the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact signed last August and demand a full and satisfactory clarification of Australia’s position, including a retraction of Howard’s doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive attack against terrorism in Southeast Asia.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman