ASEAN must work as group to combat menace of terrorism

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2002

The move by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to link anti-terrorism activities among member countries and coordinate with one another is seen as a vital requisite to both homeland and regional security.

There have been unsavory reports on the alleged terrorist cells in some member countries with ties to Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. This has bestowed the region with the unwanted sobriquet of a haven for Muslim militancy. ... But the removal of distorted perceptions about ASEAN as a group and individual states depends, largely, on the group's efficacy in stamping out the menace.

Indonesia is soft on its militants, some of whom tried to inspire fanaticism, fuel Osama-type fervor and violate the laws of the neighboring countries. Difficult as it must be to oversee an archipelago of 13,677 islands, Indonesia must exert tighter administrative reins in tackling the menace of terrorism and in ensuring its citizens respect the borders of other countries. ... It has been torturous for Malaysia to protect its borders since militants, extremists and political dissidents from the Philippines and Indonesia care nought for its integrity.

-- The New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Feb. 24

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