Newsweek, in its Feb 4 edition, cited a secret Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report as saying Malaysia was a "primary operational launchpad" for the terror attacks.
There had been two strong denials by the Malaysian government to the
Newsweek story on the FBI report, viz:
Rais’ threat that the government is considering legal action against Newsweek is becoming irrelevant as virtually all major US and international news networks, both printed and electronic, have not only given prominent coverage to the Newsweek report, there have been new US media reports in the past few days developing the issue further, as for instance:
What is a matter of concern is whether apart from objecting to the description of Malaysia as "a primary operational launchpad" for the 911 terrorist attacks, the Malaysian authorities are challenging the facts and contents of the Newsweek and other reports, particularly with regard to Yazid, the meeting of two of the 19 suicide hijackers with other al-Qaeda members in Yazid’s condominium in Kuala Lumpur and Yazid’s links with Moussaoui.
Furthermore, if these facts are not very much disputed by the Malaysian authorities, why Malaysians had not been informed about them in the local media and had to read the foreign media for information about their own country.
The Malaysian police and government should stop their short-sighted communications policy in trying to impose censorship on information, and measure up to the challenge of a new media environment of the borderless world where information though blacked out in the local media could still be immediately accessed by Malaysians once they appear in any foreign media, printed or electronic.
The real issues at stake is not what appeared in the foreign media, but the new FBI report describing Malaysia as ''one of the primary operational launch pads'' for the September 11 terrorist attacks and whether the Bush Administration is demanding the extradition of Yazid Sufaat to the United States on the ground of his role in the September 11 attacks.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry should lodge a formal protest with the United States Government over the FBI report describing Malaysia as “one of the primary operational launch pads” for the September 11 attacks and the Prime Minister should use his forthcoming visit to the United States to demand a full retraction and correction of the FBI report and an apology from the FBI.
The Malaysian Government should also issue a statement to clarify its position on the New York Times report on the US government’s demand for the extradition of Yazid Sufaat and whether this would be rejected by Malaysia.