Opinion

Bayan Lepas incident a case of terrorism, make no mistake

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“Thoughts and ideas cannot be criminalised but when they are used to groom and entice aggression to where beliefs turn into bullets, then labels become of utmost importance.

― Aysha Taryam

COMMENT | I want to make this very clear. The man killed in Bayan Lepas by police was a terrorist. He may have been mentally disturbed. He may have suffered from depression. This should not detract from the fact that he committed acts of murder and violence in furtherance of whatever radical agenda he discovered online. I get that some Malaysians take comfort in the possibility that he was mentally disturbed or depressed, but the reality is that "something dark this way comes".

You could refer to him as a “lone wolf” terrorist - the Rand Corporation refers to them as flaming bananas - but what we should not do is attempt to downplay his actions and normalise these sorts of acts because Southeast Asia has become the new theatre of operations for radical Islamic groups from the Middle East.

I have written about this extensively because I consider extremism - more than kleptocracy - as the existential threat facing this country. As usual, because of the racial and religious polemics of this country, we have become used to two disturbing narratives that cloud the issue.

The first narrative is to ignore or downplay the event in hopes of not creating an issue when it comes to religious extremism. This means that the state security apparatus and political operatives downplay the incident so as to not worry the rakyat. What we have here is an individual who was radicalised (for whatever reasons) by what he saw online and the powers-that-be attempt to reassure the public that all is copacetic when it comes to the racial and religious political terrain in this country.

The second narrative is the one promulgated by the likes of Puteri Umno... 

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