Key Hamas leaders has been expelled from Turkey.
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Hamas, the Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist, militant, and nationalist organization is looking at setting up its external operations base here in Malaysia.
“Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas’ deputy political bureau head, and former military commander, reportedly was among those expelled” from Turkey— Soner Cagaptay (@SonerCagaptay) May 8, 2022
Hamas eyes Malaysia as a possible operations base https://t.co/eVvljJayuG
Malaysia is seen as a potential base because the group has nowhere else to go in the Middle East.
The country is geographically and culturally more distant from any Arab country, but this could be offset by the popular support enjoyed by Hamas.
Malaysia sees Hamas as freedom fighters that deliver social welfare programmes, rather than militants as reported by Western media.
On May 13, Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah orders internal investigation into RTM Mandarin for labelling Hamas as 'militants'. https://t.co/SEtwTLJjbU— Norman Goh (@imnormgoh) May 18, 2021
Malaysia’s political leaders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim) also enjoy a close relationship with Hamas.
Ketua Biro Politik Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh menelefon Menteri Luar Malaysia, Saifuddin Abdullah untuk memberi taklimat kepadanya tentang perkembangan semasa di Masjid al-Aqsa, penyerbuan tentera penjajah Israel ke dalam Masjid al-Aqsa dan pencerobohan pendatang haram Zionis. pic.twitter.com/7iSyM1UOai— Nu'man نعمان 🇲🇾🇵🇸 (@numanmazlan) April 18, 2022
Should Malaysia Get More Involved?
Malaysia is a strategic ally of the United States in the war against terrorism (like Turkey and Qatar) even though it publicly supports Hamas, a designated terrorist organization by the US.
Political analyst Dr Abdul Razak Ahmad told The Rakyat Post that Palestine vis-à-vis Hamas is an Arab world issue and needs a solution brokered by the Arab world.
The former Special Advisor to Johor Menteri Besar and Minister of Higher Education said it is a problem that needed strong Arab nations’ political support for political resolutions.
While Malaysia and other nations are supportive of Hamas and Fatah, it must be seen in the context of supporting resistance against occupation of the Palestinian land, not supporting a terrorist movement or any such organisation.Dr Abdul Razak Ahmad on Malaysia’s participation in the Middle East conflict.
He stressed that Malaysia’s support has always been humanitarian and political but never about armed struggle.
On the other hand, Hamas’s political network is global in many ways and means.
Dr Abdul Razak, who heads a political think tank in Kuala Lumpur, said it is not strategic for Hamas to have one specific location for their operation and presence.
Thus while Hamas may have some presence in Malaysia, it is more of an outreach establishment for the Palestinian cause and public relation office rather that a Hamas Political and operational officeDr Abdul Razak Ahmad on the nature of Hamas’s activities in Malaysia.
He added that Malaysia has the necessary sophistication to regulate every foreign-related establishment under its legal framework.
Bloodshed Spilling Over In Malaysia
Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh was a Palestinian engineer, academic and member of Hamas.
He was assassinated on 21 April 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, while heading to a mosque for dawn prayers
Fadi was involved in Hamas rocket and drone development, and the killing was widely blamed on Israel.
let's not forget this happened on our soil a few years back..— S•G 🇲🇾🏴 (@ShazGhaF) May 15, 2021
"The family of Fadi al-Batsh, 35, has accused Israel's spy agency Mossad of being behind his killing on Saturday."
Palestinian lecturer and Hamas member killed in Malaysiahttps://t.co/vhIjceEaUb
The murder suspects were never caught, but in January this year, Hamas said they had arrested a Gaza Palestinian.
The man was alleged to have collaborated with the Israeli Mossad spy agency in the killing of Fadi.
Malaysia has dismissed the claims as ridiculous allegations.