Call for an all-party panel to evaluate police evidence and issue report on FBI finding that Malaysia was  ''one of the primary operational launch pads'' for the September 11  attacks and has become “a key front in the war on terrorism”

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Thursday)Two days ago, DAP had proposed an independent commission to review the police  evidence on Kumpulan Militant Malaysia (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,  for two reasons:
Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad  had vehemently denied the allegation, countering that  the actual launch pad for the September 11 terrorist attacks was the US itself, the issue has not been put to  rest and is most likely to  upstage Mahathir’s visit to the United States in the next few days to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New York  to speak on two themes “Ensuring Capital Flows in a Risk Averse Environment” and “The Role of Islam in the Modern State”.

Two days ago, as a result of the Newsweek report, a Malaysian in the United States said that Malaysia was  finally getting into the news in the United States on FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS every evening as a “terrorist hotbed”, and there is going to a replay of such unhealthy focus with adverse effects for Malaysia’s investment climate in the American media following the latest report in the daily  USA Today that “Preparations for the September 11 attacks on the United States took place in Kuala Lumpur” and on  the new FBI report that described Malaysia as ''one of the primary operational launch pads'' for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The USA TODAY report, which described Malaysia as “key link in plot” for the September 11 attacks,  said:

“Several al-Qaeda operatives met in Malaysia during 2000 to plan the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, according to a new FBI report that says the predominantly Muslim nation has emerged as ‘one of the primary operational launch pads' for the attacks.

“Some of the al-Qaeda operatives also planned to blow up the U.S., Israeli, British and Australian embassies in nearby Singapore with 4 tons of explosives, senior U.S. officials say.

“Together, the FBI report and interviews with the officials suggest why U.S. leaders increasingly see Malaysia as a key front in the war on terrorism.

“The FBI report, examined by a USA TODAY reporter, also sheds light on the alleged activities of Zacarias Moussaoui, the French citizen who was the first person charged in the USA in the Sept. 11 investigation.

“The report says Moussaoui, 33, got money for flight training in the USA from Yazid Sufaat, an alleged al-Qaeda operative in Malaysia who previously had met with two of the 19 suicide hijackers. U.S. agents have not linked Moussaoui directly to any hijacker, but this is the second time they have tied him to an alleged al-Qaeda paymaster suspected of supporting the

“The U.S. indictment that charges Moussaoui with being part of an al-Qaeda conspiracy to kill Americans alleges that al-Qaeda operative Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni cleric and associate of hijacking leader Mohamed Atta, also sent money to Moussaoui last year. Bin al-Shibh is the subject of an international manhunt.

“According to the FBI report and U.S. officials:

Sufaat bought the explosives through a company he owned called Green Laboratory Medicine, according to law enforcement sources. They say he planned to bomb the U.S., Israeli, British, and Australian embassies in Singapore, as well as office buildings that housed U.S.-based companies. Ghozi was arrested Jan. 15 in Manila by Philippine immigration officials acting on a tip from police in Singapore. Malaysian officials say the 4 tons of ammonium nitrate -- four times the amount used to destroy the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 – has disappeared from the warehouse where the plotters had been storing it. They say they believe the explosives have been taken out of the country.”
For the past six months until early January, Ministers have repeatedly denied that Malaysia had any connection with al-Qaeda. Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin not only told Parliament last October that no links had been established between KMM and al Qaeda, the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said in November that Malaysia was not a transit point for international terrorists including the al Qaeda and it was  wrong to paint the country in that manner as implied by some parties.

The whole “pretence” collapsed however when out of nowhere, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad  admitted that the al Qaeda network had recruited about 50 Malaysians into its operations in an interview with  the Japanese magazine Chuokoron on January 10, and a fortnight later,  this figure of the number of Malaysians with links to al Qaeda quickly escalated to  another 200 when the Inspector-General of Police announced another batch of ISA arrests.

On Tuesday, AFP quoted Najib as telling reporters after a meeting of regional intelligence chiefs that  “a terrorist network” in Southeast Asia had been "partly paralysed" by recent arrests, including the infrastructure they've built, although it is not known how many of their agents or terrorists might be “keeping low for now”.

Malaysians, who only read the local media, must wonder as to the identity of this “terrorist network” in Southeast Asia.

Najib’s statement comes as no surprise to readers of the international media, which had been full of reports of KMM, Jemaah Islamiah and al Qaeda activities, links and networks in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, but it must have come as quite a surprise  to Malaysians, which do not carry such reports, raising the question as to their veracity and why there is an official policy to black them out in the local media.

In the circumstances, DAP calls for an all-party panel  to evaluate police evidence and issue report on FBI finding that Malaysia was  as ''one of the primary operational launch pads'' for the September 11  attacks and has become “a key front in the war on terrorism”, after getting a copy of the FBI report concerned as well as asking for all available information from the United States intelligence authorities.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman