calls on the government, in particular the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and other Cabinet Ministers, to put national
interest and honour above party interest.
making his allegation, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham said when the Islamic
organisations in the United States were
investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
for possible links with several extremist groups, Malaysia was inevitably
said "That was how Malaysia
got connected with terrorism activities" even though Malaysia was a
civilised nation and did not support extremist activities.
the national interest viewpoint, the most important issue from Shaykh Muhammad
Hisham’s allegation is whether it is true that Malaysia was “inevitably
linked” in FBI investigations into terrorism and
extremist Islamic organisations in the US after the September 11
terrorist attacks - which is a most serious allegation highly detrimental to
Malaysia’s international reputation by identifying the country with terrorism.
is the first time such an
allegation linking Malaysia with terrorism
had been made publicly and internationally, and the first thing any
responsible and self-respecting government should have done is to demand
verification that the FBI had
discovered Malaysian involvement with
extremist Islamic organisations in the United States in the
post-September 11 FBI investigations - whether from the United States Embassy,
the State Department, the FBI or other sources.
is most unfortunate, regrettable
and totally reckless of national honour and
dignity that instead of
defending Malaysia’s reputation and national interest, the government accepted
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham’s allegation as gospel truth with the Deputy Prime
Minister telling the nation and the world: “I have always wondered why the US
and its media made so many accusations against us. Now we know why.” (New
Straits Times 14.2.02)
the past weeks, there had been a deluge of adverse US media reports about
Malaysia’s links with al-Qaeda operatives and networks, and this was why I had
repeatedly called for a “smart”
media policy and end the ridiculous situation where Malaysians have to scour the
foreign media for news about al Qaeda operatives, links and activities in
Malaysia and Southeast Asia which are “blacked out” in the local media.
it now suggested that all these adverse US media reports are all because of
the so-called funding of US extremist Islamic organisations by a former
Cabinet Minister, as alleged by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham - an allegation which had
not yet been reported or picked up by any US media or their “trigger-happy
journalists” who are accused of wanting to paint Malaysia in the worst
possible light, such as depicting Malaysia as a hotbed of militant Islam and
even as the planning and financial hub for al Qaeda-linked groups in the region?
party politics should always come second and be subservient to the protection of
the national interests and honour. Whether
a former Cabinet Minister had contributed US$10 million to an American extremist
Islamic organisation is important as a political issue for UMNO in its battle to
regain Malay political support - and it is a public interest issue whose
truth must be established - but it is secondary to the greater national interest question as to whether FBI had established
from its post-September 11 investigations against terrorism that Malaysia was
“inevitably linked” with Islamic extremist organisations in the US.
protect Malaysia’s national interest and honour, the Attorney-General should
consider whether there is a case to prosecute Shaykh Muhammad Hisham for
criminal defamation against the government and country unless he could produce
evidence to substantiate his allegation that
Malaysia was “inevitably linked” in FBI investigations for possible
links with several extremist
Islamic groups after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Muhammad Hisham should also be required to produce evidence to substantiate his
allegation that a former Cabinet Minister had contributed US$10 million to an
extremist American organisation, or he should be declared a persona non grata
and prohibited from entry into Malaysia.
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham be given such “VIP treatment” by the Malaysian
government and the Malaysian mainstream media if he had alleged that a member of
the present Cabinet had been funding extremist Islamic organisations in the US
and that this had been discovered by the FBI?
Muhammad Hisham would have been
hounded and bundled out of the country immediately after he had opened his
mouth, and rightly so, if he had made a similar allegation against a current
member of the Cabinet without producing any proof - and there is no reason why
he should be treated differently, just because he is making an allegation
against a former Cabinet member who is regarded as UMNO’s Public Enemy No. 1.
is an acid test as to whether UMNO Cabinet Ministers can put national interest
above petty party or personal interest, and
they should not continue to fail such an acid test in the handling of the
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham allegations.