When Deputy Prime
Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi met United States
Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington last week, Abdullah said that Malaysia
does not like to be branded as a terrorist state or as having links with
terrorists or any such profiling.
He said Malaysia should
not be viewed as a terrorist nation merely based on reports that say certain
people in Malaysia had links with terrorist groups abroad and that
actions taken by Malaysia in tackling the terrorism threat were evidence
of its firm stand against terrorism and terrorists.
Abdullah’s words not only fell on deaf ears, it is now evident that when
Abdullah made the pitch to Cheney that Malaysia does not like to be branded as a
terrorist state, the Bush Administration had already taken a policy decision to
blacklist Malaysia from October 1 and
lumped it in the group of 15
“terrorist-risk” countries warranting the special screening by US
Immigration of visitors from
the country, treating them like common criminals where they would be
finger-printed, photographed and tracked.
government should lodge a strong protest and demand removal of Malaysia from the
new US Immigration blacklist of 15 “terrorist risk” countries which is the
worst possible international branding of Malaysia as a terrorist state.
5 this year, only four countries were
regarded by the US as terrorist-sponsoring states, namely Iraq, Iran, Sudan and
Libya, whose visitors to the United
States were blacklisted and subject to special screening.
After October 1,
Malaysia will be in the expanded list of 15 “terrorist-risk” countries
and “visiting aliens”
who had travelled to these countries would be subject to special screening, like
being finger-printed, photographed and tracked, “if they can’t credibly
explain their trips there”.
Although the new US
Immigration ruling does not
automatically apply to Malaysians
visiting the US, the blacklisting of Malaysia
in the list of 15 “terrorist-risk” states from October 1 would have at least
three adverse effects to Malaysia and Malaysians:
Malaysians are entitled
to know the reasons as to why Malaysia has been branded as a terrorist state by
being blacklisted by the US Justice Department in its new list of 15
Nobody suggests that
the Philippines should be included in the new US blacklist of
“terrorist-risk” states, but Malaysians must wonder why
Malaysia is included in the blacklist when Philippines is not, as the general
impression is that the Philippines is more
“terrorist-risky” than Malaysia.
Furthermore, if the
meeting of two September 11 hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaz al-Hazmi as
well as other al Qaeda operatives in Malaysia is the cause for Malaysia being
blacklisted in the new US “terrorist-risk” states, then why is Germany
excluded when it was undoubtedly used as a haven and launching pad for the
September 11 terrorist attacks?
Or has Malaysia been
blacklisted as one of the 15 “terrorist-risk”
states because Malaysia has not been as co-operative with the United States in
its war against terrorism, as up to now the Malaysian authorities have denied
the existence of al Qaede cells and networks in Malaysia?
Or has it anything to
do with the “929 Declaration” of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad at the Gerakan national assembly on September 29 last year that Malaysia
is an Islamic State?