DAP proposes three-point strategy to eradicate in the shortest possible time the international perception that Malaysia is a "terrorist centre" to save the country from adverse international economic consequences
- opening of the Segambut DAP Branch
by Lim Kit Siang
(Segambut, Sunday): One of the greatest challenges facing Malaysians this year is how to eradicate, in the shortest possible time, the international perception that Malaysia is a "terrorist centre" .
Although the international perception that Malaysia is a 'terrorist centre",
the launching pad of international terrorist atrocities like the dastardly
September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States which killed 3000 lives
and the Oct. 12 Bali bombings which killed another 200, is most ridiculous
and outrageous, Malaysians must take the international perception seriously,
when even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had to
publicly acknowledge it in his recent Hari Raya Aidilfitri Address.
My first call for a White Paper went as far back as 4th August 2001, a day after the first announcement by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai in Johore Bahru on the arrest of eight men including a PAS Youth leader under the Internal Security Act for involvement in KMM - at that time explained as Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia although later changed to Kumpulan Militant Malaysia.
Norian Mai alleged at the time that the eight had undergone holy war or military training in Afghanistan and that the KMM, which had international terrorist links, was linked to the murder of Lunas assemblyman Dr. Joe Fernandez in November 2000 and other major crimes such as "murders, attempted murders and robberies".
The police said it stumbled into the KMM following the botched bank robbery of the Southern Bank in Petaling Jaya on May 18, 2001 - although most shockingly, the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung in Parliament on Oct. 12 last year contradicted Norian Mai and exonerated KMM and said that KMM had not been involved in any robbery case.
A Government White Paper is urgently needed to address the many
queries and doubts about the government's handling of the terrorist threat
in the country, including whether there had been a massive intelligence
failure on the terrorist activities, sleeper cells and networks of the al
Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah in the past decade.
Thirdly, a conscious, deliberate and sensitive programme by all
political parties, whether government or opposition, religious groups and
NGOs to send out the clear, strong and unmistakable message that Malaysia is
not a "terrorist centre" because of the nation's 45-year commitment since
Independence to a democratic, secular and multi-religious Constitution and
national way of life, with Islam as the official religion but Malaysia is
not an Islamic state.
On New Year's Eve, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, chairman of the Muhammadiyah, whose organization has about 30 million adherents, said: "There is no need to press ahead with the struggle for syariah. We should take the substance of Islamic values and implement them in Indonesia, not the symbols."
He said that if Muslims pressed on with religious formalities such as syariah or the establishment of an Islamic state, they would collide with other religious communities in the pluralistic nation.
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) chairman Hasyim Muzadi said: "Struggling for syariah to be enforced in Indonesia is not realistic. What we need is to develop universal values for people's prosperity."
Head of an organization of about 40 million supporters, Hasyim said Muslims as well as followers of other faiths should promote religious values that were compatible with national interests.
If such voices of moderation can be the mainstream opinion in a country which is the home to the most Muslims in the world, constituting some 88 per cent of the Indonesian population of 230 million, it should be the guiding voice and principle for Malaysia which is a more pluralistic nation than Indonesia.
The response of PAS to the calls by Nahdlatul Ulama and
Muhammadiyah is most disappointing, as the PAS vice president Datuk Dr.
Hassan Ali has been quoted by Star as criticizing them for being "not
sensitive" to efforts by other countries trying to establish syariah as the
primary law where most of the people were Muslims.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman