GEORGE TOWN: In the face of attacks by certain groups that he was part of a terror group, DAP’s P Ramasamy today said he had helped broker peace deals in strife-torn states before.
He said as an expert in international conflict resolution during his professorship at a local university for nearly three decades, he would never become part of a terrorist group.
In a press conference in Komtar today, he addressed his links with a Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group and pictures of him praying to a picture of an assault rifle.
Ramasamy said he was not part of the separatist group but had merely assisted in peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the group.
As for the prayers to the picture of the Kalashnikov, he said it was part of a memorial service in remembering those who had died in the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
“All these accusations against me for being part of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE are false. LTTE has been defunct since May 2009.
“I was merely part of a committee deciding on constitutional affairs, which comprised a multi-national group.
“Unfortunately, we did not find a solution to the problems faced by the Tamils. After the civil war began in 2007, I was no longer involved,” Ramasamy said.
He said despite failing in helping the Sri Lankan Tamils, he had his fair share of successes.
Ramasamy said he was one of the key people who helped Aceh, an Indonesian province, in its pursuit of seeking a higher degree of autonomy from Jakarta.
He said he was part of a Finnish team which led peace talks between Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM), which wanted to sever ties with Indonesia, and the government.
Ramasamy said his critics, who were supporters of Indian-Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik, never mentioned his work in Aceh, a Muslim-majority province called “Serambi Mekah” by the locals there.
He said he was convinced the 52 police reports against him were due to his criticism of Naik. He said he was merely defending the country from people who sought shelter in Malaysia as fugitives.
“I persuaded GAM to come to the negotiating table to avoid a war. And, finally on Aug 15, 2005, we managed to get Jakarta and Aceh to agree on something and we resolved the strained relations then.
“I was also involved in talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Mindanao self-rule issue in the Philippines as well.
“I am a firm believer in peace, which is better than armed conflicts. With conflicts, you cannot achieve anything.”