(Penang, Saturday): The New Straits Times today reported that terrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna, when contacted in Singapore at a conference on terrorism, clarified that the Barisan Nasional is not linked to the al-Qaeda as stated in a United Nations monitoring group’s report which had based it on his book on the terrorist network.
While denying that he made such an allegation, Gunaratna said the al-Qaeda was, however, in contact with several individuals from Malaysia’s ruling coalition through the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) of the Philippines.
Gunaratna said the MILF had been in communication with several members of the BN, PAS and ABIM with the intention of infiltrating the coalition and that the link was not between political party and party.
He said: “It is unfortunate the UN report created the impression that the BN, as a whole, was linked to the MILF”.
Gunaratna , who had also told the Singapore Straits Times that his information was from a report titled “MILF Linkages With Domestic and Foreign Non-Government and People’s Organisations (NGOs-POs)” from the Directorate for Intelligence of the Philippine National Police and other sources, described the quality of his information as of “gold standard” and expressed his willingness to present the evidence which have been developed by regional intelligence agencies to the Malaysian Government.
At a time when there is an epidemic of terrorist incidents, particularly in South East Asia, with Malaysia featuring prominently in the “Terror Alerts” of countries like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, European Union, Japan and South Korea warning their citizens to stay off from countries prone to incidents of terrorism, the nation must take a very serious view of the high-profile international controversy surrounding the UN Security Council report – Second Report of the Monitoring Group Established Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1363 (2002) and Extended by Resolution 1390 (2002) submitted to the Security Council on Sept. 19.
The gravity of the matter warrants two urgent actions in Parliament on Monday, viz:
A Ministerial statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on the UN Security Council report as well as on Gunaratna’s book Inside Al Qaeda, Global Network of Terror as far as Malaysia is concerned; and
An emergency motion to establish a Commission of Inquiry on Terrorism in Malaysia where terrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna can also present evidence that al-Qaeda was in contact with several individuals from Barisan Nasional through the MILF.
A Commission of Inquiry on Terrorism in Malaysia is urgently needed especially as for the past 15 months, especially after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the united States, the Government and the Police had not taken Parliament and the nation into their confidence on information with regard to terrorist cells, networks and activities, and in particular, to ensure that the fight against terrorism is not hijacked into an expedient opportunity to clampdown on democratic opposition, legitimate dissent and fundamental human rights.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman