Dr Mahathir: LTTE like Hamas, accused of being terrorists by others

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya September 3, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya September 3, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 3 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad explained today that a purported letter from him supporting the removal of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) from the Home Ministry does not mean his support for the defunct group.

Dr Mahathir did not answer if the letter was authentic, but said that a group should not simply be labelled “terrorists” when other countries do so — similar to the situation involving Palestinian resistant movement Hamas.

“It does not mean I supported LTTE,” he told the press, referring to the purported letter.

Dr Mahathir compared the situation with Hamas that was declared a terrorist group by the United States, but he had still met with its leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Ismail had called on Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya when he was still prime minister in January.

Dr Mahathir then added that LTTE has committed any offence in and caused any harm to Malaysia.

“So this I would like to ask, why should we look for problems, there was no problem why do we want to look for problem”

“And this problem happens because of Sri Lanka not us. We don’t need to take that kind of action unless they have done bad things in Malaysia,” he said.

Last month, several Umno linked portals such as SuaraTV and MyKMU.net reported a purported letter dated February 12 addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs requesting the removal of LTTE from its list of terrorist groups.

In the same month, then home minister and now prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said LTTE is still a terrorist organisation in the Home Ministry’s books despite a call for a review by then attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas.

Muhyiddin 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.

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.

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