DAP to ask for a briefing from  Inspector-General of Police on al-Qaeda terrorist networks, cells and activities in Malaysia

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): DAP is gravely concerned by the latest Jane Intelligence Review 01/2002 on “Al-Qaeda: The Asian Connection” which, among others things, had brought a retort from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who said that Malaysia must not be made to share blame for the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States for not detaining two of the suspected terrorists involved when they were reportedly seen in Kuala Lumpur.

I agree with Mahathir that the Jane Intelligence Review had made too far-fetched an assumption.

I have checked the actual contents of the Jane Intelligence Review article, and it said:

“Had Malaysa disrupted the Al-Qaeda cell in Kuala Lumpur in December 2000 visited by one of the suicide hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar, Al-Qaeda’s multiple attacks against US targets on Sept. 11 may have been prevented.  The cell Khalid visited was responsible for planning and preparing the Al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in October 2000.

“Although Khalid was videotaped by a Malaysian surveillance team and it was turned over to the Central Intelligence Agency, both governments failed to arrest him.  Malaysia believed that by watching him, they would discover more about his associates in Malaysia.

“Despite being put on a watch-list, the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service did not detect Khalid’s entry to the US. Finally, he flew on the fatal American Airlines Flight 77 under his own name to participate in the biggest terrorist attack in human history.”

It is ridiculous for the Jane Intelligence Review to partly blame Malaysia for not arresting Khalid al-Midhar and nipping the September 11 terrorist attacks in the bud, when the Americans had been given all the information about him by the Malaysian authorities.

In any event, there is no guarantee that the arrest of  Khalid al-Midhar could have averted the September 11 terrorist mass murders.  The September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington was the greatest failure of American intelligence community in history, and there should be no attempt to try to parcel off the colossal American  intelligence failure to other countries.

While repudiating the far-fetched assumption of the Jane Intelligence Review that Malaysia could have averted the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Malaysians must be concerned about the other revelations in the article, which raised many serious questions, such as:

"Al-Qaeda ('The Base') is a conglomerate of groups spread throughout the world operating as a network. It has a global reach, with a presence in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Xinjiang in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Mindanao in the Philippines, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kashmir, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Uganda, Ethiopia, and in the West Bank and Gaza."

It would appear that it is not only the American intelligence which had committed a colossal failure resulting in the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington causing  the death of over 3,000 innocent lives from over 80 countries, there had also been grave lapses by the Malaysian intelligence as well in not knowing about the presence of Al Qaeda networks and cells in Malaysia when it is quite an open knowledge in the international intelligence community.

The latest article in the  Jane Intelligence Review said that although Al Qaeda’s network in the United States, Europe and East Africa has been disrupted significantly as a result of investigations and widespread arrests, its  network of cells and support structures in Asia remains virtually intact, both before and after September 11.

It warned that “considering the ease with which Al-Qaeda could mount an operation in a Muslim country, or a country with a substantial Muslim population, countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines become vulnerable”.

It concluded with the warning:

“Considering the escalating threat facing Asia, it is important for Asian governments to act decisively against Al-Qaeda.

“Under pressure from the US-led campaign against Al-Qaeda, the formal Al-Qaeda structures, established during Osama (bin Laden)’s time in Sudan and Afghanistan, are likely to disintegrate. With the increased threat to Al-Qaeda support and operational networks in North America, Europe, East Africa and the Middle East, Asia is likely to become it last bastion.

“It is important that Asian states take pre-emptive action against known Al-Qaeda members and supporters currently living in these countries.”

Malaysians must find it most unsatisfactory that they have to depend on overseas sources for information about Al-Qaeda networks, cells and activities in Malaysia.
DAP will ask for a briefing from the  Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai on the Jane Intelligence Review report, the al-Qaeda terrorist networks, cells and activities in Malaysia and the overall threat of terrorism faced by the country.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman