The fight against terrorism, since Aug 1945

The past week, Astro History Channel 555 has been airing two very important episodes of the Malaysian history against terrorism; “Malayan Emergency” and “VAT 69”. Later tonight, it will be about the “Al Maunah arms heist”, which in history was recorded as the only bandits ever charged, found guilty and hanged for ‘waging a war against HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong’.

MCP bandits armed with M3 Carbines

The terrorism in Malaya significantly recorded upon the Japanese Imperial Army laid down arms on 15 Aug 1945. Before the British Military Administration reached these shores from India, the Malaysian Peoples’ Anti Japanese Army (Bintang Tiga) brutally ‘reign’ certain districts for three weeks, including invoking torture on civilians and assassinations on community leaders. The objective is to gain control of Malaya and uphold communism ideology.

A quarter of million dollars bounty for Chin "Butcher of Malaya" Peng, from a 1950s Straits Time headline

“Malayan Emergency” is about  the Malayan Communist Party armed rebellion (via the Malayan Peoples’ Liberation Army) under Chin “Butcher of Malaya” Peng, which killing of three planters in June 1948 got the British Administration to declare ‘Emergency’ on 16 June 1948. Quickly, British brought Commonwealth troops from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Nepal and other countries to combat the battle-experienced guerrillas, who had direct linkages with mainland Chinese communists under Mao Ze Dong. The war escalated into very serious situation that drew national attention when 25 persons were murdered in cold blood, which include women and children when the Bukit Kepong Police Station was attacked on the early morning of 23 February 195o.

The final journey of High Commissioner to Malaya Sir Henry Gurney on 9 Oct 1951

The highlight of the war reached all time high when British High Commissioner Sir Henry Gurney was assassinated by communist rebels led by Siu Mah on 6 October 1951, few miles approaching Frasers Hill. Gurney’ assassination brought upon a veteran World War II experienced Corp commander, Gen. Sir Gerald Templer. New measures were put in place and the military, with intense co-ordination of the Commonwealth forces went very aggressive. Templer introduced the resettlement of Chinese communities into new villages (with far reaching political effect) and national registration in the form of identity cards.

Commonwealth and Malay security forces, fighting the Malayan Emergency 1948-60

For intent and purpose, it was an all out war against the Communist Terrorists. The reason its called ‘Emergency’ because if it was called a ‘War’, the properties owners would not able to claim from the insurance companies. Despite of the on going ‘war of insurgency’, after in 1955 General Elections UMNO leaders managed to led a tri-party-civilian-authority-government to get HRH Rulers to waive the right-to-rule in favour Westminister Style constitutional monarchy and convince the British for a independence. Merdeka came on 31 August 1957, when the Federation of Malaya still under direct communist rebellion. Eventually, in 1960 HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong Tuanku Hishamuddin Alam Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Samad declared ‘Emergency’ was over.

However, the communist rebellion did not end. The guerrilla warfare continues, but mostly in the jungles and deep interiors. The hunt for the communist rebellions arrived to a defensive mode for them, where a lot of booby traps were laid for the army and policemen who conducted continuous military operations.  Hence, the military and police decided to opt for a special forces unit being formed, for these specific purposes.

VAT 69: Crack commando unit of the Field Force Police

The brutal attack on Police convoy in Kroh (near the Thai border), got the Ministry of Home Affairs to upgrade the strike-ability of the Police Field Force. “VAT 69” is about the paramilitary Police Field Force own commando detachment, formed in October 1969 with the help of British Special Air Service for specific misisons such as ‘search and destroy’. The detachment was quickly despatched to hunt down the communist rebellions along the Titiwangsa Range, who were conducting raids in the deep interiors of Kedah, Perak, Kelantan and Pahang from their camps in Southern Thailand.

The armed rebellion of the communist terrorists changed when they slowly lost their control of the jungle and their numbers waned, due to their personnels surrendering, died or simply lost their ability to fight. More over when their supply lines and operational camps were systematically crippled and destroyed. Despite communism gained better footing all over Indo China upon the fall of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to communist forces in mid 1970s, the armed struggle of the Malaysian communist rebels reduced termendously. Never the less, it did not damper their effort to wage their armed struggle and their tactics changed to meet their objectives: To continuously strike fear and the same time paralyse the security forces.

IGP Tan Sri Abd Rahman Ismail: Gunned down by communist assassins on 7 June 1974

The jungle warfare was traded to urban hits of selected strategic targets. Two senior Police Officers were assassinated in the 1970s. Former Director of Special Branch in the 1960s IGP Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Ismail, who was involved in many anti-communist operations was shot in his official car on the way to work, 7 June 1974 deep in the heart of Kuala Lumpur business district. Perak CPO Tan Sri Khoo Chong Kong shot in Ipoh on 13 November 1975. What is sad that Khoo’s assassin Lim Woon Chong was actually defended by DAP Chairman Karpal Singh.

The armed communist rebellion ended when the MCP agreed to lay down arms and end the rebellion, after the Special Branch succesfully negotiated the armstice. The Hadyaii Accord was signed in Hadyaii on2 December 1989, Thailand between the Malaysian Government and Chin Peng.

Hadyaii Accord, signed 2 Dec 1989

The war of terrorism did not end when the Hadyaii Accord was signed. A new breed of terrorist arisen in 1980s and 90s, especially after the successful campaign of rogue ‘ Jihad’ as an outcome from the awareness created with Iranian Revolution and war against Soviet Union occupancy of Afghanistan. Suddenly, a new form of terrorism grew in the form of ‘Jihad Warriors’ within the civilian population of Malaysia.

The skewed and wrong interpretation of ‘Jihad’ could be attributed to Haji Hadi Awang’s (now PAS President) sermon ‘Amanat Haji Hadi’ in 1981 where he justify the struggle against infidel-ways of the legal and administrative system. This fueled the divide between UMNO and PAS and further emphasised in smaller intense religious teachings with deviant motives such as politics.

FRU units deployed to control public order upon the warrant to arrest Ibrahim Libya

The first was when the Police tried to arrest deviant militant religious teacher Ibrahim Libya in his village of Memali near Baling Kedah, where armed ‘Jihad Warriors’ battled a group of arresting Police Officers with the protection of a Field Force unit detachment. 18 persons were killed in the fight on 19 November 1985, which include 4 Policemen.

The Army Commandos closing in on Al Maunah deviationist-rebels on Bukit Jenalik

The trend of these new breed of Jihad by these devianists continued. Another Jihad’ deviation group Al Maunah did an arms heist near the Malaysian-Thai border and retreated to Bukit Jenalik, Sauk near Kuala Kangsar, Perak. These men claimed that the Malaysian Government and Malaysia is not an Islamic state and its their calling to assume power by force to install a true Islamic government. This rebellion was overpowered and the leader Muhammad Amin Razali and three others were sent to gallows for ‘waging a war against HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong’ where else 6 were sentenced to 10 years jail. 15 others were detained under ISA and were rehabilitated whilst in detention.

A similar device designed to explode along Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar on 'Millenium New Year'

Little that anyone knew, another group planted pipe bombs in Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar for the ‘New Millenium’ party on 31 December 1999. These were co-ordinated bombings within the region, which include the Bali Bombing.

These deviant groupings grew into various active cells, now with international network in an intricate web of organised terrorism, namely Al Qaedah and Jemaah Islamiah. Some of the 9 September 2001 World Trade Centre bombers were seen in Malaysia with a known terrorist Yazid Sufaat, between 5 to 8 January 2000.  Two Malaysians will carve important mentions in terrorism in the region; Azahari Husin and Nordin Md Top.

Regional terrorism also affected Malaysian security. The insurgency wars and separatist movements in the Phillipines and Southern Thailand over spilled into our borders. The damning example is the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which prowl on civilian population within Southern Phillipines for ransom. The raid on Sipadan Island was a scar in the nation’s security landmark. Many of the home grown deviant militants who wrongly subscribe the ‘Jihad’ made their way into Souther Thailand cessation activities.

The most wanted man in SEA: Mas Selamat Kastari in different looks

The arrest of most wanted terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari in Johor after escaping Singaporean detention last year, moved the Police to form a Anti Terrorist Division, led by very experienced former Special Branch Officers. The new division quickly earned acknowledgments and respect from international security and intelligence agencies.

Never the less, the fight of terrorism still goes on. Terrorism had been murderous avenues for certain parties to meet their objectives, which include wanting power. Terrorists are enemies of the rakyat, tanahair and faith. Only in different forms, compared to 65 years ago when the Bintang Tiga ruled the nation in brutal force for three weeks.

One of Malaysia’s most effective method of curbing terrorism in volatile variables such as multi ethnic, political ideology, faith and geo-political influence is the Internal Security Act. It is undoubtedly a tool put in place through the democratic process designed to preserve democracy, from the angle of management and prevention of threats to national security.

Published in: on August 22, 2010 at 20:55  Comments (19)  

MCA controlled The Star agenda to wedge Selangor BN apart?

Sunday political columnist Joceline Tan came up with an analysis of the Selangor politics and the fight for control of the State Government probably 2012, which actually started now. All stakeholders got their machineries already in motion. However, the special attention and focus is on Selangor UMNO.

Sunday August 22, 2010

Battle for Selangor hots up

Insight
Joceline Tan

Events in Selangor over the last few weeks may have resembled a James Bond movie but it is actually a very real fight for control of this premier state.

TAN Sri Khalid Ibrahim may not have the James Bond look but the events erupting around him over the last few weeks have been as fast paced and dramatic as a 007 movie.

There has been the discovery of a hidden camera in the Selangor Mentri Besar’s office, a bullet in the mail for a Selangor MP, allegations of corruption and deceit flying around and a sandstorm blowing in the background.

And Mr Bond is never without the mandatory villains who, as far as Khalid is concerned, have to be Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo and Datuk Noh Omar.

But for some, Khalid seems more of a floppy-haired Austin Powers trying to find his mojo, rather than Mr Bond, international man of mystery with a licence to kill.

Unfortunately, what is happening in Selangor is no movie.

The race for control of Selangor has begun in earnest. Pakatan Rakyat has arrived at the critical mid-term of its administration while Barisan Nasional’s Selamatkan Selangor campaign is heating up.

Umno has recovered from its inertia and there is a sense of purpose about winning back Selangor.

A well-matched battle lies ahead. Given that, the spate of issues, from sand-mining to cronyism, could not have come at a worse time for the state government.

The dust from the Ronnie Liu episode is still swirling and the issue will get bigger before it subsides because some of these letters of support apparently went to questionable businesses like slot machine operators.

Said a Pakatan insider: “Pakatan in Selangor is under siege, partly as a result of their own doing and partly because of pressure from Barisan. Something will have to give soon.”

Umno, said the insider, can only get stronger from here unless Pakatan quickly comes up with significant and visible action.

Pakatan’s branding as a clean coalition that advocates good governance is under scrutiny.

“It has to quickly do something to demonstrate its policy of zero tolerance for corruption. The MB should also quickly introduce one or two people-friendly initiatives to soften public opinion,” said the Pakatan insider.

House cleaning

One of the more drastic measures being floated in Pakatan is a house-cleaning exercise that includes a state executive council reshuffle.

The current state exco was formed in a hurry. Khalid had picked the PKR exco members without consulting his party, and a few of them have turned out to be problematic.

A reshuffle would enable Khalid to phase off those bogged down by controversy and personal baggage and bring in those who have shone as state assemblymen.

There is also pressure on Khalid to quickly come up with a code of ethics for his administration.

Some want him to go even further by getting the Government out of business, that is, dissolve the GLCs or government-linked corporations. They said some GLC directors are paid between RM200,000 to a couple of million ringgit a year and the money should be diverted to people-oriented projects.

But whether Khalid will respond to the new pressure and feedback is anybody’s guess. The former Guthrie big gun has a mind of his own or what some call a “hearing problem” when it comes to party dictates.

“I like my MB, it’s just that he is not good at politics. But I think people still like him very much, he has done better than the previous regime. We’re happy with the direction he has taken although some expectations have yet to be met and there are still things we want to achieve,” said Tony Pua, the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara.

Pua readily admitted that the Ronnie Liu issue did not reflect well on DAP but pointed out that overall there had been less hanky-panky.

Or, as Khalid said in an interview, he would always be able to do better than his predecessor. But as some of his own party people pointed out, anybody could do a better job than the former mentri besar.

Dr Khir has bristled at such remarks and the two have been trading verbal blows, flowered with stinging Malay proverbs.

“They are still struggling as a government but they have some smart, hard-working and sincere YBs (Yang Berhormat),” said Juhaidi Yean Abdullah, a former aide to an Umno minister who now runs a restaurant.

Juhaidi, who is also chairman of a shelter home in Subang Jaya that takes in abandoned babies and teen mothers, has singled out the area’swakil rakyat Hannah Yeoh as one of them.

“She has been helping us and even sourced out special milk powder for some babies who were lactose intolerant. They are the new breed,” said Juhaidi.

Pakatan has its share of black sheep but it also has some stand-out YBs who reflect the times.

For instance, Pua is one of the most-watched faces in Parliament today, the way Umno’s Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah and PAS’ Datuk Husam Musa were noticed when they started out as MPs. Barisan, despite or because of its long tenure, seems to be short of such contemporary voices.

“Umno is not short of talent. We have our Tony Puas and Nik Nazmis (PKR assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad) but do you know how difficult it is for a younger person to move up in Umno?” said Subang Umno Youth chief Datuk Harrison Hassan.

While the senior generation in Umno is still humming the same old tune, the younger set like Harrison and his Petaling Jaya Utara counterpart, Latt Sharizan Abdullah, have tuned in to the new political landscape.

This cohort of young, educated Umno politicians talk of new politics for the Malays. They have friends from all races and they know Selangor’s urban electorate are not afraid of change and want the best from their politicians.

“Selangor is going to be even more complex than before the 2008 elections. Voters demand more of us, they want less rhetoric and more action,” said Latt Sharizan.

Discerning electorate

The Selangor electorate is the most sophisticated and discerning in the country. The high Internet penetration means that they are going to be bombarded by all kinds information from the factual to the absurd. Of the 59 state seats, 60% are solidly Malay-majority constituencies while the rest are either Chinese-majority or mixed seats.

The signs in many places are that the Malay ground has begun to turn in Umno’s favour.

Harrison admits some people give him funny looks when he says Barisan can win back Selangor.

He is not talking out of turn because Barisan, which has 20 seats, needs only nine more to regain power. But as any politician would know, it looks simple but can be so difficult.

“We hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up,” said MCA central committee member Loh Seng Kok who is from Selangor.

But the Chinese make up a sizeable proportion of voters and Barisan will need their support to do well.

“The keris rhetoric had its greatest impact in Selangor. The Chinese middle class and professionals are still lukewarm about us but they are independent, not mindless voters. They are critical of wrongdoing whether in Barisan or Pakatan,” said Loh.

The new breed of YBs have set a trend. Other things being equal, candidates, or rather the quality of candidates, will be important in Selangor.

The Umno political bureau recently discussed the need for new faces without baggage for the next round.

Pakatan will be scouting for better quality candidates following its experience with defections. DAP is said to be on the lookout for Malays with credentials, especially in Perak, so that they do not have to turn to PAS or PKR for a mentri besar in the event of victory.

A great deal of what happens next in Selangor depends on Khalid’s follow-up to feedback and advice. He will have to focus on the job hence the concern that he may be eyeing the PKR deputy post. Not many people think he can juggle it.

Moreover, the sodomy trial looks like it will finally take off again now that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has almost exhausted his string of applications.

Anwar’s attention will be on the trial or as one PKR man put it: “It is like a fish trying to wriggle off the hook, you can’t think of anything else but getting free.”

There is a bright side, though.

The world, according to a visiting Indian guru, is not going to end in 2012 and that means the general election will take place and life will go on. He dismissed the end-of-the-world scenario as a Hollywood movie and claimed there would be more spirituality and love in 2012.

The dear guru has evidently not been through a Malaysian general election which tends to have lots of everything except love and spirituality.

For sure, the battle for Selangor will not be a love fest.

***************

Why is the fight for Selangor is only about Selangor UMNO Vs Pakatan Rakyat? What about Selangor BN?

UMNO has two other very active partners in Selangor BN, namely MCA and MIC. The relationship of UMNO with the coalition partners is good. In fact, the April Hulu Selangor by-election was about UMNO defending the decision to appoint MIC Information Chief P Kamalanathan and later very hard fought for BN to win.

This analysis sends a strongt signal that Selangor BN is all about UMNO and other component parties are so ineffective that when their non involvement is not really missed.  Selangor MCA, MIC and Gerakan may be slighted since The Star highlighted their observation and analysis in the open depicts the apparentness of the below-average performance of these Non UMNO Selangor BN components.

PM Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak as the Selangor UMNO Liaison Chief understands the importance of Non Malay roles in the Selangor politics. More than 24 seats in the Selangor DUN are not Malay majority. It means that Non Malay BN component members have a herculean task to win the confidence and support of the Non Malays, particularly the Chinese. UMNO could not possbibly work on these seats without the Non Malay BN component parties, particularly the MCA.

These areas are constituencies within Klang Valley such as Petaling Jaya Utara, Petaling Jaya Selatan, Subang, Kelana Jaya, Ampang, Serdang, Puchong, Klang, Shah Alam and others, which now being classified as part of ‘Greater Kuala Lumpur’ under one of the National Key Economic Area focus. The importance of MCA in working within areas is very much recognised by PM Najib, now starting to bounce back after the 12th GE defeat. As such in the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Selangor MCA Boss Dato’ Donald Lim was given the honour to be appointed as a Senator and Deputy Minister.

However the recent MCA leaders talking aloud their Chinese Chauvinism stance apparently becoming somewhat DAPish did not go down well with UMNO Leaders, which include  DPM and Deputy President of UMNO Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yasin. MCA President Dato’ Seri Chua Soi Lek got a lot to do to mend the PR with UMNO.

For The Star to present the fight for Selangor is UMNO centric, then it suspiciously in abstract illustrating that some quarters within the MCA-controlled largest English daily wanted to wedge the divide further between UMNO and MCA. If this is true, then The Star actually has a strategic agenda to prolong the Pakatan Rakyat control of Selangor, despite their on going multiple level issues and inter and  intra-party squabbles.

Published in: on August 22, 2010 at 11:07  Comments (6)