Government White Paper on al-Qaeda linked
terrorist networks and activities in Malaysia in the past decade an
important step to eradicate international perception of Malaysia as a
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
Thursday): The Star has been carrying a two-series
article by Wong Chun Wai and Lourdes Charles entitled "Hambali - man behind
the terror trial" as the New Year offering to accompany its new format,
which is primarily based on the latest report of the Brussels-based
International Crisis Group (ICG) released world-wide on 11th December
entitled "How the Jemaah Islamiyah Terrorist Network Operates".
While any effort to provide more information to Malaysians about al-Qaeda-linked
terrorist networks and activities is to be commended, as it can only
contribute to greater understanding as to why, as the Prime Minister, Datuk
Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged in his recent Hari Raya Address,
Malaysia has been perceived internationally as a "terrorist centre" and to
finding an effective solution to eradicate such a perception which is highly
detrimental to Malaysia's economic future, the following observations are in
the three-week delay before The
Star carries the two-series article based on the ICG report;
the total lack of official and
proper response from the government and the police to the ICG report which
shattered Malaysia's innocence with its picture of the country as a
launching pad for al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist bombings and
attacks in South East Asia since 1999.
A week after its release, DAP had
called for a Government White Paper on the ICG report which I had described
as a thousand times more damaging that the UN Security Council Monitoring
Group on al-Qaeda in October which indirectly linked the Barisan Nasional to
al-Qaeda through the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as it prominently
fingered Malaysia as the hub and launching-pad of al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) terrorist networks and series of devastating bombing sprees
in Southeast Asia in the past few years.
It is most regrettable that the government and police had not been able to
respond positively to the DAP's call for a White Paper on the ICG report
which has deepened international perceptions that Malaysia's "Terror links
run deep", and the only thing the police seemed capable of doing is to
provide some confirmation to the two-series Star article on Hambali about
the ICG report but which scrupulously steered clear of questions
highlighting the grave failures of the Malaysian intelligence community.
This is just not good enough, and DAP calls on the Inspector-General of
Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai and the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Home Minister,
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to give serious consideration to the urgent
publication of a White Paper on the ICG Report as well as al-Qaeda linked
terrorist networks and activities in Malaysia in the past decade as an
important step to eradicate the international perception of Malaysia as a
What Malaysians want is a professional account, untainted by any political
bias or motives, about the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist networks, sleeper cells
and activities in the country.
We do not want a situation where any international report adversely
implicating the Barisan Nasional with al Qaeda is immediately condemned as
fabrications and defamation like the UN Security Council Monitoring Report
while reports implicating the Opposition are regarded as gospel truth, such
as the ICG report linking Nik Adli Nik Aziz, the son of Kelantan Mentri
Besar and PAS spiritual leader, in high-level meetings of al Qaeda-linked
terrorist organizations in the region.
The Star article said Malaysian intelligence sources confirmed that Nik Adli
representing Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM) attended the meetings of the
Rabitatul Mujahidin (RM), which has been described as the JI military arm to
forge co-operation among the militant Islamic groups in Southeast Asia such
as Laskar Jundullah and the Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI), the KMM in
Kuala Lumpur, the MILF and the Abu Sayap Group in the Philippines, the JI in
Singapore and other Islamic extremist groups in Thailand and Burma to set up
a Daulah Ismiah - an independent Islamic State encompassing Indonesia,
Malaysia, Brunei, the Southern Philippines and Thailand.
The question that should be asked is why the Malaysian intelligence
authorities knew nothing about the establishment of the Rabitatul Mujahidin
in Malaysia by `Abu Bakar Ba'asyir in late 1999 in a meeting at the
International Islamic University in Gombak and the three RM meetings held in
the country until long after the events?
Quoting "various sources", the Star said at least 20 people attended the
inaugural meeting of Rabitatul Mujahidin and referred to the ICG report and
said "at least 10 JI inner circle members attended". The ICG Report's note
on those who attended the inaugural meeting of RM, apart from Abu Bakar
Ba'asyir, were: "Hambali, Abu Fatih, Ustadz Muklas, A. Umar, Aziz Kahar
Muzakkar, Ali A.T. and Hassan Kamal; Agus Dwikarna and Tamsil Linrung; Eri
Djunaidy, Lamkaruna Putra (Fauzi Hasbi's son), and Faturrahman from Republik
Islam Aceh; Tk. Idris, and his younger brother, Tgk. Muhammed from MP-GAM; a
man known as Abu Huraerah from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; Ustadz
Salim Ullah, another Afghanistan veteran, from the Rohingya Solidarity
Organisation; Nik Adli and one other man from PAS, Malaysia; Abu Hafiz
Ismael and one other man from PULO, Thailand; a Darul Islam representative
from Indonesia; and Nurul Islam from the Arakanese Rohingya Nationalist
The Star said Malaysian police officials confirmed that between 1999 and
2000, three meetings of RM were held in Petaling Jaya, Gombak and Perak but
it could not obtain the names of those present. The police however confirmed
that KMM members were present at the meetings.
It is surprising that information from police intelligence led The Star to
pass the following judgment RM: "It is understood that Hambali was elected
secretary-general of the movement, which is said to be inactive".
This is clearly not the conclusion of the intelligence services of other
countries in the region with regard to RM.
Intelligence sources from other countries have reported for instance that at
the second meeting of RM in Kuala Lumpur in mid-2000, key leaders issued a
resolution "to carry out attacks on Philippine interests" resulting in the
bomb attacks on the residence of the Philippines ambassador to Indonesia in
August 2000 as well as other bombing incidents in Indonesia and Manila.
One report said: "At least two representatives for each militant group in
Southeast Asia attended the 2000 meeting presided by Ba'asyir. Among the
participants were: Hambali, Agus Dwikarna from Sulawesi, Tenku Idris from
Aceh, Ibrahim Maidin from Singapore, Abu Fatah from Thailand, Abu Huraira of
the MILF, Abu Fathi from Indonesia, Nik Adli Abdul Aziz from Malaysia and
two leaders from Burma".
In November 2000, the RM met for the third time, in Perak, and elected
Hambali as secretary-general. Late November the same year, a fourth meeting
was held in Solo, Indonesia where the attack on Indonesian churches on
Christmas Eve and other attacks in the Philippines were planned.
Are these reports from the intelligence services of other countries
confirmed by the Malaysian intelligence, and if so, Malaysians are entitled
to know about them in a Government White Paper.
The Star article broke new ground in revealing that Hambali had at least RM2
million cash in hand to run his campaign of terror while he was operating in
the region headquartered in Malaysia, using the money to buy arms, send JI
members for training in Afghanistan, blow up a train station in Manila and
stage bombings in churches in Indonesia - including the most recent Bali
It reported that Hambali obtained a Class E contractor's licence in Malaysia
and was awarded government tenders, including the installation of water
pipes in Selangor and the tender to supply stationery to a school in
How could Hambali get a Class E contractor's licence and government tenders
when he is not a Malaysian citizen and had merely permanent resident status?
These are among the many questions which Malaysians are entitled to answers
which should be in a government White Paper, if the authorities are serious
in wanting to eradicate the international perception of Malaysia as a "terrorst
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National