Wisma Putra should summon the envoys from US, UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand to ask them for evidence to justify their government’s travel advisories warning about Malaysia not being a safe place in the wake of an expected new wave of international terrorism
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday he had directed Wisma Putra to hold a briefing for foreign envoys in Malaysia to explain the true security situation in the country.
He said the briefing to all the foreign envoys was to explain that Malaysia was a safe destination, that “we don't have any incident to hide” and that the government constantly took steps to ensure the security in the country.
This is a most commendable pro-active step, but before such a briefing, Wisma Putra should summon the envoys from US, UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand to ask them for evidence to justify their government’s travel advisories warning about Malaysia not being a safe place in the wake of an expected new wave of international terrorism.
There can only be one of two reasons and circumstances for the issue of such travel advisories on terrorist alerts naming Malaysia, viz:
If it is the former, it must be regarded as hostile and enemy action, and Malaysia must demand a full explanation and satisfactory redress from the countries concerned, as a briefing to their envoys about the security situation in Malaysia under the circumstances would be an utter waste of time.
It is only in the latter situation that a full briefing for foreign envoys about the actual security situation is relevant and useful – although Malaysia is also entitled to know why the governments concerned had not given advance warning or notice about such terrorist alert advisories after all the international conferences and promises about information-sharing on the threat of international terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Malaysian Government should establish into which category these five countries which had issued travel advisories on terrorist alerts naming Malaysia fall into, and to give a full report to Parliament next month on the progress which have been made to counter and eliminate Malaysia’s international image as a regional terrorist centre as it has far-reaching consequences to the country’s competitiveness and ability to become a tourist and foreign investment centre.
Malaysia’s response to last Friday’s Casablanca terrorist attacks, killing 41 including three French nationals, two Spanish and one Italian and the rest Moroccans, calls for explanation from the government.
Although the Moroccan blasts have drawn widespread condemnation from the Middle East and Europe, there has not been a word of condemnation for the Casablanca terrorism or even a word of condolence to the Moroccan government from Malaysia.
The Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, in a message to Moroccan King Mohammad VI, condemned the Casablanca bombings and declared: "No pretext can justify the killing of defenseless people and creation of terror situations".
Jordan condemned the Casablanca blasts as “monstrous attacks, which have no aim other than to soil the image of Arab and Islamic civilization throughout the world”. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad branded the bombers criminals. Middle East countries which denounced the Casablanca blasts included Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Palestinian Authority.
In Europe, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer blasted the “criminal terrorist attacks”, demanding that “the authors and their accomplices should be found and judged before a tribunal”; the French foreign Ministry condemned the “ignoble carnage”; and at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II denounced “the blind violence that hits the innocents”.
Malaysia’s reaction through the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the head of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the next head of the Organisation of Islamic Organisation (OIC), received worldwide coverage for standing out from the rest of the world - not only in withholding condemnation of the Casablanca blasts and condolence to the Moroccan government and people, but also in as good as blaming the United States for the latest incidents of international terrorism in Morocco.
There is a clear need for the Cabinet on Wednesday to review and clarify its stand on international terrorism and terrorist networks like al-Qaeda.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman