Terence Fernandez, The Malay Mail
ALRIGHT. The timing of the so-called intelligence report that extremist groups are infiltrating Pakatan Rakyat component parties can be questioned. Skeptics have said that coming so close to the 13th general election, Special Branch’s E2 (M) national social extremist threat division assistant director Datuk Mohd Sofian Md Makinuddin’s assertions do raise eyebrows.
Last Thursday he said the opposition was being infiltrated by terrorists who were trying to be fielded as candidates in the coming national polls.
While one may want to take his claims with a pinch of salt, it is unwise to dismiss it as another political ploy.
Previous investigations by the authorities had revealed that several Al-Arqam and Jemaah Islamiyah members had claimed to be card-carrying PAS members.
PAS had also claimed that 13 suspected terrorists of Filipino descent arrested in Tawau last November were its members.
It would be harder to accuse the DAP of having Communist links — just as how it would be unfair to label Umno as being a Commie party just because of its ties to the Communist Youth League of China.
Is the Malaysian government a Communist government merely because we have strong bilateral relations with China and Cuba? The former being among our largest trading partners?
Hence it was laudable that Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein exercised caution when addressing these allegations.
Another politician would have jumped at the opportunity to score points and contribute to the alleged scare-mongering by spooking voters partial towards the PR parties.
Instead, the Umno vice-president stressed that the alleged infiltration of communist and Jemaah Islamiah ideologies into PR is not at a level that threatens national security.
“Right now, I am saying that the reports that have come to me, whatever penetration (in the opposition) as far as ideology is concerned, it does not affect the security, safety and stability of our nation. So don’t make it more than that,” he was reported as saying.
Hishamuddin went another step further by saying that any action taken to neutralise these infiltrators be it on PR’s side or Barisan Nasional (BN) must be transparent and open.
The PR parties have since reacted with their predictable passionate denials and retort.
One does not fault them when their perception is that the government machinery is being used to discredit them.
As the saying goes, he who asserts must prove, and it would not be right for Mohd Sofian to just hit and run. Where is the proof?
It is imperative for the Special Branch’s own credibility to explain its allegations and if true, the security of the nation trumps all other considerations — public perception and political interests (of both sides) included.
Until then, it is not right to shoot from the hip. What is the intention of making this information public in the first place?
Should it not be classified, until Bukit Aman is ready to move in.
By announcing it, would it not give ample time for these so-called subversive elements to cover their tracks and dissappear into the woodwork?
But perhaps the political parties implicated can take cognisance of the Special Branch’s concerns and conduct an audit of its own membership.
The Special Branch report raises the question of what due dilligence do our political parties do before they admit members?
Or are they merely concerned with making the numbers irrespective of the consequences?
Perhaps this is a wake-up call to ensure that our political parties do some spring cleaning as well as be a bit more selective in who they chose to go to bed with.