The home minister should review the gazette on terrorist groups as required by law, said Attorney-General Tommy Thomas today.
Section 66B(9) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 provides for a review “every six months” to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to keep a group on the gazette.
Thomas said this in a statement announcing the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ decision to discontinue proceedings against 12 Malaysians charged with supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
An order declaring an entity as a terrorist group “is not meant to be permanent or enduring”, he said.
“Parliament recognises that over time, a group that uses violence to achieve its purposes may change or adapt by eschewing violence and accepting peaceful methods of change. History is replete with such examples.
“Section 66B(9), therefore, provides that the minister shall review his order every six months, whether there are still reasonable grounds for any such order to continue to apply to a specified entity.
“It is plain and clear that the law requires an order declaring an entity a terrorist group must be reviewed every six months by the minister. If its violent actions or tendencies continue, the order stays. If, on the other hand, such actions cease or the entity itself becomes moribund, defunct, dissolved or disbanded, then the order should be revoked.”
LTTE, which fought Sri Lankan forces in the country’s civil war, was declared a terrorist group by the Malaysian home minister in an order gazetted on November 12, 2014.
The group, however, has been defunct since May 2009 after it laid down arms and its remaining fighters surrendered to the Sri Lankan military.
The charges of supporting LTTE against the 12 Malaysians, including two DAP assemblymen, had been met with disbelief since the group is no longer active.
Thomas noted that Sri Lanka’s Parliament in 2011 repealed emergency regulations meant to deal with the LTTE threat.
In October 2014, the European Court of Justice annulled anti-terrorism sanctions and other restrictions that had been placed by the European Union on LTTE since 2006.
In July 2017, LTTE was removed from the EU terrorism blacklist by the European Court of Justice for a second time, after the court found no evidence that the group was still carrying out attacks following its 2009 defeat.
“LTTE has never in its history carried out violent attacks in Malaysia,” said Thomas.
Citing Ireland’s Sinn Fein, he said history has shown that a terrorist group can, over time, become a normal political party and give up its violent struggle. – TMI