Dr M confirms asking for LTTE’s removal from terror group list

(FMT) – Dr Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed writing a letter earlier this year to then home minister Muhyiddin Yassin, asking for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to be removed from Putrajaya’s list of terrorist organisations.

He denied that the letter signified that he was a supporter of LTTE, but spoke against the actions that were taken against several individuals when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in government.

“We don’t have to look for problems. If there aren’t any problems, why look for one? And the problem happened because of Sri Lanka, not us. We didn’t have to take such actions, unless they really did bad things in Malaysia.

“I don’t say that Hamas is a terrorist group. But Hamas is classified as a terrorist organisation by the US. And the world says it’s a terror organisation.

“If he’s a terrorist, why did I meet Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh? He is a friend, how can I call him a terrorist?” Mahathir said at a press conference today.

The letter, dated Feb 12, had gone viral recently. In it, Mahathir told Muhyiddin he did not think LTTE should continue to be labelled as a terrorist organisation as Sri Lanka itself did not consider them as such.

“We consider Hamas as terrorists but we allow them to enter Malaysia,” he wrote.

“I think it’s better to remove LTTE from the terrorist list. With that, the court trials can be held without denying bail during the trial.”

The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, bars an accused person from seeking bail after they are charged with security offences.

Twelve men had been detained under Sosma in October 2019 for their alleged links to the LTTE, a defunct militant organisation that tried to create an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka.

The 12, including two DAP assemblymen, denied their involvement in LTTE, stating that the flags, posters and pictures found in their possession meant they only sympathised with the plight of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

In February, then attorney-general Tommy Thomas decided to drop the charges against the 12, saying there was “no realistic prospect” for their conviction under any of the 34 charges brought against them.

Between 60,000 and 100,000 Tamil civilians died during a 27-year civil war in Sri Lanka, according to figures from the United Nations.

Police had previously said LTTE had been classified as a terrorist organisation by Malaysia under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla).