Amanah: Saudi centre may drag Malaysia into Mid-East conflicts

raja-baharinKUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya’s decision to allow the construction of the King Salman Centre for International Peace (KSCIP) places Malaysia at risk of being dragged into the conflicts of Middle Eastern countries, the Terengganu Amanah chairman warns.

Raja Bahrin Shah said Malaysia should have remained neutral.

“Why should we give special treatment to Saudi Arabia to set up an anti-terrorism centre in this region? We have enough agencies to deal with terrorism.

“Why did we invite Saudi Arabia, which has many enemies in the Middle East?” he asked at a news conference at Parliament today.

KSCIP was agreed on during the visit of Saudi ruler King Salman Abdul Aziz to Malaysia in March, as an effort to fight the influence of the Islamic State (IS).

The Malaysian government allocated 16 hectares in Putrajaya to build the centre, although details of its operations including the staff were not revealed.

Raja Bahrin feared more IS militants would turn against Malaysia because of its relationship with Riyadh.

“We don’t want to become the target of more IS militants just because of our involvement with Saudi Arabia.”

The Kuala Terengganu MP pointed out that controversial preacher Zamihan Mat Zin, who was described by the deputy prime minister as an expert in rehabilitating former terrorists, had also criticised the KSCIP project.

“Ironically, an officer of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) was quoted as saying that setting up KSCIP in Malaysia was ‘unintelligent’.

“Immediately after that remark, he was barred from making statements.”

Zamihan, the president of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah Malaysia (Aswaja), was shown in a video posted on social media recently calling the prime minister’s decision to allow the establishment of KSCIP “not intelligent”.

He reportedly said that Malaysia’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia to fight the IS was not realistic since the Middle East country had produced many terrorists and Malaysia itself had enough agencies to do the job.

“It won’t matter even if Saudi Arabia doesn’t come to our country to fight terrorism. We have the home ministry, prisons department and other security institutions.

“Why do we have to depend on Saudi Arabia to fight IS? Saudi Arabia itself produces IS (militants). They have failed to rehabilitate IS (fighters) in their own country, so how can they rehabilitate IS detainees in our country?” Zamihan said.

Last week, FMT reported that details on KSCIP were still unclear, four months after the announcement on the centre.

Among the agencies involved in setting up KSCIP is the higher education ministry through Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim), which will collaborate with an institute under the Saudi defence ministry, Markaz Harb Fikriah (Centre for Ideological Warfare).

Also involved is Rabitah Alam Al-Islami (World Muslim League), an organisation active in missionary activities around the world.

It attracted controversy over the teaching of Wahhabi beliefs, an Islamic movement long promoted by the rulers of Saudi Arabia.