Friday, April 11, 2014

NATIONAL SECURITY


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on April 10, 2014

This is a translation of the earlier posting KESELAMATAN NEGARA

1. During my time as Prime Minister, both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister were jointly responsible for national security.

2. At times I held the post of Defence Minister while the Deputy Prime Minister is the Home Minister responsible for the police. At times as Prime Minister when I decided to assume the Home Minister portfolio, the Deputy Prime Minister would be appointed Defence Minister. There were only on a few occasions when the situation demanded it, ordinary Ministers were appointed to the Defence portfolio. This is because the issue of national security is of great importance.

3. On Nov 20, 1985, I led a massive private sector delegation to China because I believed there were abundant trade opportunities with China which had then only opened up to external trade participation.

4. I cannot recall Tun Musa (Hitam) coming up to me to ask me not to go to Beijing but he was, with many others, at the airport, to wish me well on my trip to China. Even at that time I cannot recall if he (Musa) had advised me against going abroad.

5. The Memali incident took place on 19 November 1985, a day before I left. In a police operation such as this, a tragedy could happen. In this case four policemen and 16 criminals were killed. Quite a number were wounded.

6. I was very confident in the ability of the Deputy Prime Minister to handle the situation that I appointed him as Acting Prime Minister. It was he who replied to YB Gooi Hock Seng (Bukit Bendera) in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 20, 1985. YB Gooi had asked for a postponement of the Dewan Rakyat to discuss, the “Perintah Berkurung akibat Pembunuhan di Baling, Kedah” – (Handsard) – (Imposition of Curfew due to the killings in Baling, Kedah).

7. I returned home on Nov 28, 1985. When I was abroad, there were no incidents that could not be handled by the Deputy Prime Minister who was then the Acting Prime Minister.

8. Each portfolio came with its own set of responsibilities. In dealing with crimes, the responsibility was with the police. In terms of making a decision when there is a major threat to national security, the Minister is responsible, at least in endorsing the action to be taken.

9. Tun Musa admitted that it was his responsibility. In the system of Cabinet that we practise, all Cabinet members, especially the Prime Minister bears responsibility.

10. I don’t believe Musa foresaw the loss of lives resulting from his decision. As he had said in his reply to YB Tuan Gooi Hock Seng, “it is the duty and responsibility of the Government to ensure that security of the country exists at all times for the welfare of its citizens and for the overall stability of the country. This, the Government will not compromise…”

11. The issue with regards to me not being in Malaysia when the incident occurred was not spread by me. I did not mention this at all in my book. What is publicly known is that Dato Musa Hitam was the Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister at that time. The Inspector General of Police discussed and reported to him as the Home Minister. The Home Minister is also involved in making the decision on actions that needed to be taken. It is surely unbecoming if when things were going well, only then one admits to the responsibility.

12. It has to be remembered that the policemen were killed before they returned fire. It is very unfortunate that while the deaths of Ibrahim and his followers are remembered and they were even declared as martyrs, the deaths of the members of the security forces are forgotten.

13. Yes, this incident should not have happened. But do we allow it to fester and spread before we act? Look at what is happening to other countries now. Look at what is happening in some other countries now because the police are not allowed to take act effectively.