KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is still a terrorist organisation in the Home Ministry’s books despite a call for a review by Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas yesterday.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin insisted that the LTTE — a separatist group now regarded as defunct following the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 — remains a threat to Malaysia’s public order and security due to its ideologies.
“Thus, it is the responsibility of the authorities to take action according to the legal channels to curb any form of ideological propaganda and activity associated with this group,” he said in a statement today in response to Thomas’ call for a review.
He also cited Section 668(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 to assert his ministerial power in deciding whether a group or an individual is involved in terror activities and should be listed as a terror threat.
“I would like to emphasise that listing LTTE as a terrorist organisation is subject to the authority of the Minister of Home Affairs provided under the law.
“The Attorney General does not have the power under the law to interfere in the affairs of the Home Minister,” he stressed.
Muhyiddin said the LTTE has been listed as a terrorist group since November 12, 2014 and said his decision to keep it that way is based on the latest information received from the country’s security forces.
“The group is believed to still have ideologies that could pose a threat to public order and national security.
Thomas exhorted the Home Ministry to relook the terror designation on the LTTE in the same statement announcing his decision to discontinue court proceedings against 12 Malaysians whom his office charged last October, two of which were DAP state lawmakers — Melaka state executive councillor G. Saminathan, Negri Sembilan assemblyman P. Gunasekaran.
The Attorney General said he was exercising his constitutional discretionary powers after finding insufficient evidence to back its prosecution that would lead to a “realistic prospect of conviction”.
Thomas has since drawn widespread criticism from a Malay Muslim lawyers group and conservative parties like PAS as well as the Malaysian Bar, though for opposing reasons.