LTTE dragnet - a strategy to create a Hindu phobia counternarrative - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Malaysiakini : “It’s a new game in the new Malaysia, which could potentially escalate ... I hate to say this. Isis may capitalise on the perception that Islam is under threat in Malaysia.” - Ahmad El-Muhammady, a lecturer at the International Islamic University Malaysia
| The above quote is in reference to large-scale attacks by an IS
influenced “wolf pack” foiled by the state security apparatus during the
holy month of Ramadan earlier this year.
Police Abdul Hamid Bador said: “This operation was launched after our
Special Branch’s counter-terrorism division detected an Isis wolf pack
cell… that planned to assassinate four VIPs and launch large-scale
attacks on Christian, Hindu and Buddhist places of worship, as well as
entertainment centres in the Klang Valley.” Also of interest, the IGP remarks that the attacks were planned to
avenge the death of Muhammad Adib, a fireman who died from injuries
sustained in a riot at a Hindu temple in Subang Jaya on the outskirts of
Kuala Lumpur last year.
Much like the case of Singaporean
businessman Mohamed Kazali Salleh, who was arrested by Singaporean and
Malaysian security forces for funding a foiled attack on places of
worship in this country, all these are merely a continuing narrative of
religious extremism in this country.
In the Singaporean case,
Farlina Said, an analyst from Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and
International Studies (Isis), said: “First, it indicates that Daesh is
attempting to regroup. Second, this suggests that the Malaysian fighters
in Syria still see Malaysia as a target.”
This falls in neatly with public comments made by Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay (above),
head of the Malaysian police force’s Special Branch Counter-Terrorism
Division about returning IS fighters: “There is a possibility they will
escape and go to a third country or return to Malaysia. If they return
to Malaysia, it is highly likely they will recruit new members and
Hence, this idea that the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is of grave national security concern is misleading
and an attempt to create a new narrative of religious extremism for a
new Malaysia. This would explain the countless viral social media posts
about DAP politicians promoting the LTTE.
groups, politicians and activists as a threat to national security is
not something new in Malaysia. Lim Kit Siang argued against the
duplicity of the state in 2007, when then attorney-general Gani Patail
attempted to link Hindraf with the LTTE in the infamous Batu Caves 31
“The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail was the
first to raise the alleged Hindraf links with terrorists when he
deployed it as the 'star' argument at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on
Wednesday to oppose the application for bail for the 31 persons charged
for the 'attempted murder' of a policeman.
"What was the
justification for the attorney-general leading the attack on Hindraf for
its alleged terrorist links? Yesterday, Gani said his linking Hindraf
to the LTTE in his argument at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Wednesday
was based on a police report. He said: 'Somebody lodged a police report
that there is ground that these people have been going out to
(establish) contact with this LTTE'."
If someone was planning an
attack against the Sri Lankan High Commission, this is a clear-cut case
of domestic terrorism. However, the problem with the LTTE dragnet is
that it has become a political issue because of the behaviour of
politicians and the state security apparatus, not to mention the grey
area of Malaysian politics where extreme political rhetoric,
personalities and religious groups collide in a deliberate attempt to
manufacture narratives to galvanise the Malay base.
This idea of a
White Paper on the LTTE is the height of legislative duplicity. It does
not matter if people believe that the LTTE is an existential threat to
this country. What matters is if you can make a factual argument that
the LTTE threat warrants the national security scrutiny and public
scrutiny, that warrants governmental intervention in the form of a White
Paper or the use of repressive laws like Sosma.
of the media have made much of the links between a Tamil Nadu
“politician”, Senthamizhan Seeman, a known LTTE sympathiser, and local
politicians. Seeman has made extreme statements in Canada, not to
mention various attempts to “revive” the defunct LTTE, and is a
third-grade actor and first-grade charlatan whom nobody takes seriously.
He is most probably fleecing money from gullible people who think they
are part of some grand revival of a lost cause.
The same could not
be said of Dr Zakir Naik, who is operating as a state actor and under
charges of money laundering and instigating religious violence. Now, the
authorities are considering whether to blacklist Seeman from entering
this country, which is strange because if he poses the kind of threat
they claim, why not just ban him outright?
When it comes to
hateful rhetoric, the state security apparatus has banned Zakir from
speaking on certain issues, although they allow him free movement in
this country. Hence, this idea that politicians who have links with
Seeman, are suddenly a threat to national security, is ludicrous, while
politicians, religious figures and Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Harapan’s
religious czar, find someone like Zakir “inspiring”.
A Muslim NGO
was contributing funds to Syrian “refugees”, doing so through the known
proxies of a group listed as a terror organisation by the United
Nations. When I told them this fact, they said they did not care. What
they meant was that the funds were going to a good cause and it did not
matter to them who it went through. In other words, it is not a question
of “terrorist” organisations, but rather which terrorist organisations
are sanctioned by the state, and which causes are deemed acceptable.
the state security apparatus makes these claims of attempts to revive
the LTTE, having propaganda material or paraphernalia, all this is
hypocritical, especially when it comes to how some Muslims in this
country fund organisations and support causes on international terror
What we are talking about here is a manufactured outrage
against a defunct terror group, with the aim of mobilising public
sentiment against an imaginary existential threat. Do not get me wrong.
If the LTTE were responsible for the kind of mayhem around the region as
other terror groups, nobody would have an issue.
The problem here
is that, so far, the state security apparatus is using Sosma as if they
are digging a dry well, hoping to gather more information which would
make the threat seem a clear and present danger.
Consider how the
state security apparatus has managed to foil threats from IS-inspired
lunacy. Consider how quickly they move when it comes to known terrorist
organisations that view Malaysia as a soft target.
My belief is
that what the state is attempting to do is create a counter-narrative to
the issue that is the existential threat to this country. Attempting to
generate Hindu phobia among the majority is politically more
advantageous than addressing the extremist problem facing this country.
The far-right and the deep Islamic state are rejoicing.