KUALA TERENGGANU: Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, who reportedly attended a meeting of Islamic radicals in Makassar, Indonesia, in October 2000, said he was there as a guest of an Islamic congress in his capacity as head of a state government.
The Terengganu Mentri Besar said he was invited by Universiti Hassanuddin and several NGOs in the Sulawesi city to give a talk in conjunction with the amendment of Indonesia’s constitution to provide autonomous powers to its provinces, including Sulawesi.
Abdul Hadi, who is acting PAS president, said his talk focused on the experience of Terengganu and Kelantan in implementing Islamic administration and syariah laws for their case studies.
He denied his involvement or link with any radical or militant group, leader or activity, either in Malaysia or abroad.
The meeting was attended by academicians, Indonesian politicians, including Indonesia’s Deputy Speaker M. Fatwa, among others, he said, referring to an article in The Star which named him as an Islamic leader from Malaysia who had made the acquaintance of a group of Islamic radicals at Makassar.
The report said those who attended the meeting included radical Islamic leaders such as Abubakar Ba’asyir, who heads the Jemaah Islamiah with links to al-Qaeda and is now being detained in Jakarta, and Agus Dwikarna who led the militant Laskar Jundullah.
Agus, who is now serving a 17-year prison term in the Philippines for possession of explosives and suspected involvement in bombings in Jakarta and Manila, has admitted he had come to Malaysia in 2000 to invite Hadi to attend the Islamic congress in Sulawesi.
Agus, who was secretary general of Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia, had also attended a meeting of Rabitul Mujahidin (RAM) near the International Islamic University in Petaling Jaya. Those present at this meeting were KMM leader Nik Adli Nik Aziz, son of Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Hambali (also known as Riduan Isamuddin, the mastermind of JI and al-Qaeda’s operations leader in Southeast Asia), and Abubakar Ba’asyir.
In KUALA LUMPUR, Umno Youth chief Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein has urged relevant authorities to investigate whether it was true that Abdul Hadi was involved in talks with Islamic extremists in 2000.
“If it is true, the authorities should investigate the matter. Abdul Hadi has a responsibility of providing an explanation to the public,” he told reporters at his ministry yesterday.
Related Story:‘Hadi was at the meeting of Islamic radicals’
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