(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Government should get its act together and not send out confusing and
conflicting signals about the threat of terrorism in the country.
For instance, The Star today front-paged a report with the headline "PM: SHOW PROOF - 'Malaysia very disappointed with travel alert to German citizens'" while the Chinese press highlighted the "terrorist alert" issued by the Kuala Lumpur City Police to hotels and nightspots frequented by foreigners that they could be terrorist targets of KMM and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), with Nanyang Siang Pau carriying the front-page headline: "Nightspots may be attacked - KL Police strengthens anti-terrorist measures".
What is surprising is that no English or Malay media published the "terrorist alert" of the Kuala Lumpur City Police to hotels and nightspots, when any such terrorist attacks on areas frequented by foreigners would be a matter of general and grave concern to Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or area.
In fact, the "terrorist alert" issued by the KL City Police would be a sort of answer to the front-page story of The Star, where Mahathir said he was very disappointed that Germany has put Malaysia on a "highest caution" alert in its latest travel advisory, in the wake of other similar travel advisories by other countries such as Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.
This is not the first time that the Malaysian Government has sent out conflicting and confusing signals about the threat of terrorism in the country - the most unfortunate episode being the artificially-inflated political storm over Rohan Gunaratna's book "Inside Al Qaeda - Global Network of Terror" until the Prime Minister admitted that the Sri Lankan terrorism analyst had not linked the Barisan Nasional directly to al-Qaeda.
As a first step, the Government should take Parliament, all political parties including the Opposition, the civil society and all Malaysians into its confidence by giving a clear and unvarnished account of the terrorist threat in Malaysia, and secondly, establish an all-party Conference on Terrorism to demonstrate the government's preparedness to transcend all partisan considerations and would not exploit any short-term party political advantage to ensure a terrorism-free Malaysia.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman