Donald Tsang

SAR officials cannot ignore regional terrorist threat

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 October, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 October, 2001, 12:00am

In the light of the attacks in New York and Washington, political leaders from around the globe are working to eliminate terrorism and stop it from destroying our civilised way of life.

I believe 99.9 per cent of Muslims are law-abiding members of society, as are 99.9 per cent of all Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Taoists and members of every other faith in Asia.

But the effects of Islamic fundamentalism, if left unchecked, have become all too evident. We in Hong Kong have been relatively distanced from such effects, due mostly to geography.

However, with the world's most populous Islamic country, Indonesia, 'in our own backyard', I would be interested to learn how the Hong Kong Government is working with its counterparts in Jakarta (and, indeed, those in Bangkok, Beijing, Canberra, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo) to ensure isolated incidents of fundamentalist terrorism in eastern Asia do not spread throughout the region. We should be taking a proactive approach to solving this problem at its source.

Or is the SAR Government content to react once terrorist activity reaches our shores? Adopting this approach has had unbearable consequences for the United States.

To me, with my layman's understanding of regional politics, it seems apparent Jakarta and Manila require considerable support from all the region's capitals to battle this affront to social and economic stability and the freedom of everyone in the Asian-Pacific community.

Given his well-deserved reputation for understanding these matters, Donald Tsang would seem an ideal candidate to spearhead such a campaign.