Malaysian police detain supporters of Tamil Eelam terrorists

In this February 20, 2009 photo, Tamils from across Europe protest in Geneva against Sri Lanka's military offensive against Tamil rebels, called the LTTE. Although the LTTE is no defunct, it still has supporters overseas. (Shutterstock image)
Updated 11 October 2019

Malaysian police detain supporters of Tamil Eelam terrorists

  • Since 2009, the Malaysian authorities have detained 25 suspects involved in the LTTE
  • More than 80,000 people have died in fighting between Sri Lanka's government troops and the LTTE

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have detained seven people including two politicians for suspected terror links with Sri Lanka’s defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the federal police’s Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) principal assistant director, told a press conference that the arrests were made after a series of operations on Thursday across several states in Malaysia and in Kuala Lumpur.

“(They) are suspected of engaging in activities that promote, support, incite, encourage and raise funds, as well as possess LTTE items,” Ayob Khan said, adding that the investigation of the suspects had begun in November last year. 

Among the suspects were two local politicians from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) — the Malacca exco member, G. Saminathan, and Seremban Jaya assembly person, P. Gunasekaran. DAP is part of the ruling coalition party, Pakatan Harapan.

Both politicians allegedly attended a pro-LTTE annual event called “LTTE Martyr’s Ceremony” in Malacca on Nov. 28.

Ayob Khan said: “(G. Saminathan’s) involvement was the same as (P. Gunasekaran) … The suspects were giving a speech to support LTTE, and also distributed items related to LTTE to the public.”

Another three suspects who were detained had a record of attempting an attack against the Sri Lankan high commissioner in Kuala Lumpur in 2015.

They were subsequently arrested and fined $2,500. One of them had conducted secret meetings to recruit and spread LTTE propaganda.

However, some, including Malaysian politician Charles Santiago, questioned the government’s move to arrest the two DAP politicians. He claimed to be “baffled” about the terror-link claim as the LTTE was already defunct and inactive, local media reported.

Last Friday, a pro-LTTE video surfaced on social media of a Malaysian man of Indian ethnicity warning the Malaysian police not to stop LTTE activities in the country.

 “I love LTTE … is there any law that can stop us? Definitely no,” he said.

As Southeast Asia becomes a growing hub for international terrorists, the Malaysian Counter-Terrorism Unit has increasingly been taking on the threat. Since 2009, the Malaysian authorities have detained 25 suspects involved in the LTTE.

Meanwhile, Malaysian police have captured 284 suspects from Indonesia’s Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) since 2011, 512 Daesh suspects since 2013, as well as one suspect from the Sikh Babbar Khalsa group in 2019.

“According to police sources, in recent years there was an effort by certain quarters outside of Sri Lanka to ‘re-activate’ LTTE worldwide,” Ayob Khan said. “We do not want Malaysia to be the hub for LTTE reactivation.”

The LTTE is widely considered to be a terrorist organization and has been banned in 32 countries including India, the EU and the US. 

The group had been involved in a long civil war against the predominantly Sinhalese authorities since the 1980s, which resulted in more than 80,000 deaths.

At the height of its power, the group evolved into a nationalist insurgency equipped with specialized militant units, including its infamous suicide attackers.  


Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

Members of new parliament look on after they were sworn-in at Adan Adde airport in Mogadishu. Somalia is likely to hold elections next year. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 September 2020

Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

  • The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons a promised one-person, one-vote model.
Mohamed’s office announced late Thursday the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Swedish-trained civil engineer and political neophyte, and “wished him to take duties and tasks ahead with diligence.”
He fills a vacancy left when former Premier Hassan Ali Khaire was removed by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.
The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.
However, the process has been held up by political infighting between the president — better known by his nickname Farmajo — and the country’s regional leaders.
Somalia had set itself the goal of holding its first fully democratic, one-man, one-vote election since 1969 — as opposed to a complex system in which special delegates pick lawmakers who then vote for the president.
But an agreement reached between the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu has conceded that such a vote would be impossible within the time frame remaining before Somalia’s parliament expires in November, and Farmajo’s term ends in February.
In an official communique, the negotiators said delegates from Somalia’s myriad clans would elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which in turn chooses the president.

SPEEDREAD

The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.

While the process mirrors the last election held in 2017, it will go a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with 27,775 delegates voting — almost twice as many as last time.
No timeline was given, and it remains unclear what role the country’s independent election commission will play, with the federal and state governments to appoint their own agencies to oversee their respective polls.
The plan still needs to be approved by Somalia’s parliament.
The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation.
But observers had warned that such a goal was looking increasingly unlikely due to tensions with the states, technical aspects such as voter registration, and security challenges posed by the Al-Shabab militant group.
The fragile central government, chaired by Farmajo, controls only a part of Somali territory and relies on an international peacekeeping force to confront a violent insurgency from Al-Shabab in the countryside.
Mogadishu had been criticized by observers for engaging in political feuds with federal states to gain control in the election process, rather than focusing on the fight against the militants.