DAP proposes an independent commission to review the police  evidence on KMM, Jemaah Islamiah and al Qaeda activities, links and networks in Malaysia and to issue a credible report on the threat posed by militant Islamic terrorism, national and international

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had rightly reacted with incredulity and indignation at the latest Newsweek report that Malaysia was a launchpad for the Sept 11 terror attacks on the United States, and the Prime Minister deserves full support in his summary dismissal of any suggestion that  Malaysia must be held responsible for the heinous mass murders of over 3,000 innocent lives from over 90 countries when this was the result of the  worst intelligence failure of the American intelligence and security in United States history.

However, what bothers  Malaysians is that while Mahathir is right in objecting to the description of Malaysia as "a primary operational launchpad" for the 911 terrorist attacks, the Malaysian authorities are not really disputing  facts and contents of the Newsweek report.

Newsweek said that US intelligence sources believe that former army captain Yazid Sufaat, detained in Kedah on December 9 last year and one of the 23 held  under the Internal Security Act for allegedly being involved in the second militant wing of Kumpulan Militant Malaysia (KMM),  was a member of the Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiah and helped develop a support network for chief terror suspect Osama bin Laden in Malaysia and throughout Southeast Asia.

According to the Newsweek report,  Yazid held a meeting in his Kuala Lumpur condominium in January 2000 with top associates of bin Laden in accordance with instructions given to him by an Indonesian cleric with ties to al-Qaeda, the Saudi dissident's terror network.

Two of those in attendance - Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhamzi - surfaced in the United States where they enrolled in flight school and later piloted the plane that struck the Pentagon.  Later in 2000, Yazid hosted French national of Moroccan descent Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged so far in connection with the Sept 11 attacks.

Yazid gave Moussaoui letters of employment as "marketing consultant" for Infocus Tech, which were found in his Minneapolis apartment, and agreed to pay him US$2,500 a month during his stay in the US along with a lump sum of US$35,000 to get him started

Last December, Malaysian investigators discovered that Yazid had ordered four tons of ammonium nitrate, a powerful explosive, for the Jemaah Islamiah in Singapore to build a fleet of truck  bombs with 21 tons of the material.   In comparison, Timothy J. McVeigh used two tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil for the Oklahama City bombing in 1995 which killed 168 people.

The Newsweek report said Yazid was suspected of being a member of Jemaah Islamiah, accused by neighbouring Singapore of planning to bomb the US embassy and other Western targets in the island state.

Most of these information are no more news in the foreign media although they are seldom or hardly reported in the local media.

Although the Prime Minister railed against the foreign media for being unfair in their reporting, the Malaysian authorities  continued to be partial to foreign correspondents  as compared to the local reporters, giving exclusive  information to the foreign media denied to the Malaysian media  and which Malaysians would read or  learn about in the foreign press  for the first time.

For instance, the Foreign Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar told a  foreign press last week that the KMM was planning to attack a U.S. naval vessel during a rest stop in Malaysia but that the plot was broken up before September 11.  This is news to Malaysians.

The government has been given mixed and confusing signals about the existence of al Qaeda operatives and cells in Malaysia. For six months, Malaysian police and government told the nation and the world that al Qaeda had no links, connections or cells in Malaysia, but  suddenly in January this year, the government not only admitted that the al Qaeda network had recruited about 50 Malaysians into its operations in the  interview of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad published  by the Japanese magazine Chuokoron on January 10, this figure of the number of Malaysians with links to al Qaeda has quickly escalated to  another 200 in a matter of two weeks.

The latest Time magazine (issue 4th February 2002) reported that the number of 200 could be low according to “a former KMM foot soldier, who quit the organization two years ago after disagreeing with its plans to wage a violent campaign to instal an Islamic government in Malaysia”, claiming that there were 45 in his group alone and that “there were many, many groups sent for training” and that “if the police say there are 200 more KMM members out there I think they must mean only the leaders”.

What is the truth.  Is the figure of KMM and even al-Qaeda operatives going to continue to be  escalated until come the next general elections, it will be in the region of thousands?

The Malaysian government owes to the Malaysian people  first duty to give a fully frank and truthful account of the  KMM, Jemaah Islamiah and al Qaeda activities, links and networks in Malaysia and not to give any suspicion  that vital information is being manipulated whether because of partiality towards foreign media, foreign policy dictates or for blatant domestic political ends.

For these reasons, DAP proposes an independent commission to review the police  evidence on KMM, Jemaah Islamiah and al Qaeda activities, links and networks in Malaysia and to issue a credible report on the threat posed by militant Islamic terrorism, national and international.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman