Government should step up its monitoring of terrorist activities following the bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca

Press Statement
by John Chung

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): DAPSY expresses its deepest regret over the spade of bombing incidents by terrorists in Riyadh and Casablanca in the space of less than a week which left more than 70 civilians dead and scores of others injured. 

We strongly condemn the despicable acts by the perpetrators of the bombings, strongly suspected to be al-Qaeda militants, which are motivated by hate and a spirit of vengeance without the slightest regard for innocent lives. 

The post-Iraq war bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca should be a wake-up call to the world community that international terrorism is very much alive and poses a very real threat to the safety and security of all. The bombings may also be the start of a terrorist backlash feared by many as a result of deep anti-American sentiments provoked and engendered by the US war on Iraq. 

We are also concerned about the warning that similar bombings by the al-Qaeda linked the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) group may occur in South East Asian countries - Malaysia being no exception – particularly as the region had witnessed two prior fatal bombings in Bali and Davao respectively. 

Such warning should be seriously taken by the Malaysian government especially as the US, British and German authorities had pinpointed Malaysia as a possible terrorist target in the region aside from Kenya in East Africa and in view of the recent blanket travel advisories issued by both Australia and New Zealand for their citizens in South East Asian countries, Malaysia included. 

The Malaysian government should therefore step up its monitoring of terrorist activities and be more vigilant against terrorist threats in light of these recent developments. The threat posed by JI should not be underestimated or discounted considering that key JI leader and mastermind of several bombings, Riduan Isamuddin alias Hambali is still at large. It is important that we do not allow ourselves to be distracted by the battle against SARS that we unconsciously let our guards down in the fight against terrorism. 

While we welcome the government’s directive to the Foreign Ministry to brief foreign envoys on the safety of Malaysia as a tourist destination, more needs to be done. It is not enough that the government merely convey the message to our foreign counterparts that the country is safe. What is important is that the government must be seen to be truly vigilant in its efforts to counter the threat of terrorism so that the perception that Malaysia is an unsafe place can be effectively dispelled or at least considerably lessened.


* John Chung,  DAPSY International Secretary