On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

No nation is free from this threat

Terrorism is not only of local concern because it has a
vast international network. As shadowy groups, they move from country to
country, under different guises.

They may have a base country, where they operate for indoctrination, training
and propaganda purposes, but their tactic is to operate in cell groups.

In the past, countries like the US spent huge sums fighting the communists. Now
that the Cold War is long over, there appears to be a lax in security.

Security agencies like the CIA and FBI have found their budget slashed. There
is more investment in technology intelligence than human intelligence in the
gathering of information.

Now a small group of people, using low-tech methods, has successfully brought
the mighty United States to its knees. They have proven that they can penetrate
the heart of the US financial and security centres.

No nation, especially democracies, is free from such a threat. Everyone must
realise that terrorism needs to be rooted out ruthlessly. There should be no
pity or the slightest hint of support when women and children are killed. No
religion in the world condones the taking of lives.

Fighting terrorism is about sharing crucial information and manpower within the
scope of national sovereignty. Rogue countries like Sudan and Afghanistan have
long been harbouring terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

Despite the denials by the Taliban and the fact that no one is sure who is
responsible for the New York tragedy, these countries are long-known to have
provided a safe haven for terrorists to carry out their crime against the

Many militants, including those from the KMM from Malaysia, have travelled to
Afghanistan to take up weapons training. It was in Afghanistan that our
self-styled Mujahideen were indoctrinated before returning to Malaysia to
advance their causes. They have bombed churches in Indonesia, in the name of

No one can be sure what was Osama's role in the bombing and hijacking but he
has certainly inspired many terrorists. The 44-year-old Saudi, who is said to
be hiding in Afghanistan, commands Islamic militants willing to die in their
war against the United States, which he sees as the ultimate enemy.

He has been the target of a massive US manhunt since 1998 when bomb attacks on
the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people and injured 4,000
others. He has denied responsibility for the embassy attacks.

The world now faces a chronic and serious threat – one that is able to bring
war to any country without that country knowing who the enemy is.

All democratic countries, including Malaysia, must spare no effort and money to
fight extremism. Our security forces must be prepared and equipped to deal with
any potential threat of extremism in schools or universities.

Moderate Malaysians must realise that we cannot accept religious extremism in
our multi-racial country. We must not take for granted our liberal and open
lifestyle, worse still if we were to exchange it for one that is theocratic and

Let's not send the wrong signals to the world. Malaysia should not become
another Afghanistan.