DAP calls for a codicil to the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact to deal specifically with the Howard doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive strike in Southeast Asia
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Yesterday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia may review the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact if the Australian Government, particularly Prime Minister John Howard, continues to demonstrate insensitivities, arrogance and personal prejudices against other nations.
DAP supports a review of the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact if Howard is not prepared to stop being recalcitrant and apologise for his arrogant, unfriendly and belligerent statements on unilateral pre-emptive strike against terrorism in neighbouring countries.
At the very least, a codicil should be added to the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact to deal specifically with the Howard doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive strike in Southeast Asia. As Australia has entered into such an anti-terrorism pact with Indonesia and Thailand, with one with the Philippines awaiting formal signing, let all countries be very clear as to whether the Howard “strike first” doctrine is recognized or repudiated by the pacts.
In the meantime, the Malaysia-Australia anti-terrorism pact should be suspended as Howard has plunged relations between Australia and Southeast Asia to an all-time low with his public posturing completely heedless of national sovereignty of neighbouring countries, regional concerns or international law.
If Howard is sensible, he would accept the advice of the Australian Bishop
of Grafton, Philip Huggins, to withdraw and apologise for comments which are
not within the United Nations Charter’s definition of self-defence and
which have damaged Australia's relations with its neighbours.
The Age article said:
Mahathir does not need anyone’s defence as he is more than capable of defending himself.
However, the questions posed by The Age about Malaysia becoming a stomping ground for top al Qaeda operatives are valid ones which many Malaysians have been asking since the September 11 terrorist massacres in the United States and why DAP had repeatedly called, to no avail, for an all-party conference on the threat and challenge of terrorism as a national issue which transcends party differences.
It is time that the police take Malaysians, and in particular leaders of all political parties, ruling and opposition, into its confidence with the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai, giving periodic briefings and reports about the threat and challenge of terrorism in the country and region, as well as addressing their legitimate security concerns and fears about the police responses as to whether the police are sufficiently conscious that the strengthening and enhancement of democracy, human rights and the rule of law to fight injustice and oppression are the strongest weapons in the battle against terrorism.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman