I am very disappointed that the Malaysian Parliament missed the historic opportunity to be the first Parliament in the world to condemn the senseless massacre and carnage in Paris by Islamic State (IS) suicide bombers and to call on world Parliaments to speak with one voice against such atrocities which have left at least 129 dead and over 350 injured.
On Sunday, I had suggested that the Malaysian Parliament should, in an emergency motion the next day (Monday, 16th November) set a world example and speak in one voice the next day on behalf of 30 million Malaysians to condemn the senseless massacre in Paris on Friday night, as well as to urge Parliaments and legislatures all over the world to similarly condemn such dastardly and uncivilized savagery as crimes against humanity which cannot be mitigated by any ground or reason.
But there was no such emergency government motion in Parliament yesterday, and the Paris massacre and carnage were furthest from the minds of government Ministers and MPs who were only obsessed with getting the 2016 Budget adopted in its second reading without any mishap in the voting stage.
The threat to peace, whether in Malaysia, the ASEAN region or world-wide, posed by Islamic State cannot be taken lightly, as evidenced by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s revelation of the arrest in the past week of five persons – four Malaysians and one Indonesian –involved in planned terrorist activities in the Klang Valley.
Khalid said that one of those arrested believes he is “Imam Mahdi” was planning to launch attacks in several locations in the Klang Valley and was capable of “killing anyone, including family members, who get in the way of the group’s ‘battle’.”
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has returned from the G20 (Group of 20) Summit in Turkey which he attended as ASEAN Chairman, said G20 leaders generally say Islam is not a problem but how Islam has been abused for the benefit of Islamic State (IS) group.
Why did the Malaysian Parliament missed the historic opportunity yesterday to be the first Parliament in the world to condemn the senseless massacre in Paris by IS suicide bombers and to call on world Parliaments to speak with one voice against such atrocities?
It could not be because Najib was in Turkey for the G20 Summit, as the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, could have moved such an emergency motion in Parliament for debate and resolution immediately after Question Time, taking priority over all other parliamentary business.
Or is it because Zahid was not sure that there would be unanimous support by all Malaysian MPs, regardless of party affiliation, for such a motion?
The Pakatan Harapan parties of DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara had declared their stand condemning the killing of innocent lives in Paris by the Islamic State suicide bombers and gunmen.
Have Zahid any reason to believe that UMNO/BN MPs might not have given unanimous support to such a motion, or was he unsure of the stand of the PAS MPs?
Unlike the three Pakatan Harapan parties, PAS had not made any statement condemning the dastardly massacres in Paris. Will all PAS MPs support a motion to condemn the Islamic State massacre in Paris last Friday?
Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that he had revealed on Sunday that he is on the IS “hit list” although he had been informed about it in March to create a sense of urgency to ensure that such attacks did not happen here.
If so, he should reveal the others on the IS “target list” to show that he is being serious and not embarking on any “ego trip”.
There are four things the government can and should do to show that it is very serious about the IS threat:
1. Reveal all Malaysian leaders on the IS “target list”.
2. Move an emergency motion in Parliament to unanimously condemn the massacre and carnage by IS suicide bomber and gunmen in Paris last Friday.
3. Demonstrate that the government will not “play politics” on an issue which affects the security of the nation like the IS threat, by forming a Parliamentary Select Committee on IS and terrorism in the current Parliamentary meeting to share information with all MPs regardless of party politics so that there could be a national consensus on the threats of IS and terrorism.
4. Withdraw all criminal prosecutions using the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) which had no relationship with terrorism or terrorist activities, as Parliament and the nation had been explicitly assured that special legislation like SOSMA are meant to combat terrorism and not to deal with dissent against the ruling authorities of the day.