Aug 19, 2014
Malaysia is not an Islamic state or a Muslim nation-state, but a Muslim-majority country which is well regarded by most of the world for our unity-style moderate government and our consistent principled stand on global issues; within the larger paradigm and context of a Muslim world which appears often confused or inconsistent on universal issues and values; mostly internal but some global inaction as well.
While it is not my purpose to highlight any failures of our Foreign Affairs Ministry, we have to manage Malaysia’s reputation which had been put on a global scale which is still much respected for our principled position, as exemplified by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, especially on the issue of a racist South Africa.
Today however, we appear somewhat inconsistent in a number of foreign policy issues and global actions. For example, for me it is still not very clear if and whether the government of Malaysia did pay a few hundred millions for the release of our cockpit recorders for the downed MH17. Is then negotiating with International terrorists’ part of our new foreign policy?
For another instance, we have not ratified many international agreements and conventions; can the minister please explain the delay especially since we are now fighting so hard to sit not only on the UN Human Rights Council but also seeking to occupy one of the UN Security Council’s non-veto seat.
Our credibility has been as an international values promoting nation-state; even if we are small, we are perceived as part and parcel of the international global community. The Tunku left us that legacy, by also personally campaigning and then assuming the appointment of the secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Therefore, the even more critical question today for you, minister is: what is our stand on the Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS or Boko Haram or even the Yemeni pirates.
In this column I want to rather focus on ISIS; because I genuinely do not know much about them, and what they appear to be fighting for, other than they are merciless group of who are inhumane, and who kill at will and without a conscience. What is our view of them, and why are you and the ministry so quiet about them and their current activities?
Who is ISIS?
Scott Ng wrote in FMT a comment on ‘Malaysia’s ISIS problem’ on Aug 16, 2014 and concluded:
The new ‘Islamic Caliphate’ taking hold of Syria and Iraq is already spreading its tentacles and threatening our way of life in Malaysia as well.
Is this true? Are his arguments, facts and storyline true? If not, who, if not Wisma Putra, should correct our/and his misperceptions about who this fearsome group is and if in fact they have ties other terrorists in Malaysia?
Scott Ng also wrote
“That is scary,” you may say, “But what does all that have to do with Malaysia?”
A lot more than you may think. Just a few days ago, buried under news about the current Selangor political crisis, was an interview in the South China Morning Post with Ayub Khan, the senior counter-terrorism division official at Bukit Aman.
In that interview, Ayub revealed that some 19 Malaysian jihadists captured had confessed that there are plans to storm Putrajaya and replace the government with an Islamic Syariah government through armed warfare.
Along with that, they also planned to attack a disco, a Carlsberg factory and several pubs.
Well, I can only assume that since Bukit Aman knows about this, things should be under control, right? My honest fear is that they are too busy chasing the like of students who put ‘likes’ on the pro-Israel FB page, and framing sedition cases to be concerned about these real militant-links to terrorism in Malaysia.
For that matter, I also received an article and video from a reliable friend.
My question is: what is Malaysia’s foreign policy on the ISIS in Iraq and Syria? Please do not get me wrong, I support the Malaysian government’s policy on Palestinians, and their loss of their homeland.
But, I have serious reservations about why we are so quiet about the ISIS in Syria and Iraq and maybe the Government must table a white paper in Parliament on this subject to inform and educated on all Malaysians become educated on these issues.
I wait to hear from the foreign affairs minister. May God bless Malaysia.
KJ JOHN was in public service for 29 years. The views expressed here are his personal views and not those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at [email protected] with any feedback or views.