Security issues of third world countries



         There are many aspects that can trigger an internal crisis in a country. Sometimes an internal crisis could bring serious effects to a country. Racial issue, ethnic and cultural differences are examples of internal crisis in a country. Such crisis can occur in a country which consists of different races. Different cultural background as well as religious background can cause misunderstandings and conflicts among the citizens of a country. Such incidents had happened in our country in May 1969.

May 13 Incident 1969-Malaysia(Alice)

Racism is an ideology based on the idea that humans can be separated into distinct racial groups and that these groups can be ranked on a hierarchy of intelligence, ability, morality etc. The May 13 incident is a term for the Chinese-Malay race riot in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in May 13 1969. The riots continued for a substantial period of time, and the government declared a state of national emergency, suspending Parliament until 1971. Officially, 196 people were killed as a result of the riots between May 13 and July 31, although journalists and other observers have given much higher figures. The government cited the riot as the main cause of its more aggressive affirmative action policies, such as the New Economic Policy (NEP). The riot has also since been used in election campaigns and political rallies, typically to brow beat Chinese opposition into accepting government policies.

On its formation in 1963, Malaysia suffered from a sharp division of wealth between the Chinese, who were perceived to control a large portion of the Malaysian economy, and the Malays, who were perceived to be more poor and rural. However, it was foreign individuals and organizations, not the Chinese, who held the largest portion of total corporate equity in the country. 1964 Race Riots in Singapore were a large contributing factor in the expulsion of the state from Malaysia, and racial tension continued to simmer, many Malays dissatisfied by their newly independent government’s perceived willingness to placate the Chinese at their expense.

Politics in Malaysia at this time was mainly Malay-based, with an emphasis on special privileges for the Malays – other indigenous Malaysians, grouped together collectively with the Malays under the title of “bumiputra” would not be granted a similar standing until after the riots. There had been a recent outburst of Malay passion for ketuanan Melayu – Malay supremacy – after the National Language Act of 1967, which in the opinion of some Malays, had not gone far enough in the act of enshrining Malay as the national language. Heated arguments about the nature of Malay privileges, with the mostly Chinese opposition mounting a “Malaysian Malaysia” campaign had contributed to the separation of Singapore, and inflamed passions on both sides.

The causes of the rioting can be analysed to have the same root as the 1964 Race Riots in Singapore. In addition, Malay leaders who were angry about the election results used the press to attack their opponents, contributing to raising public anger and tension among the Malay and Chinese communities.

In the May 10, 1969 general elections, the ruling Alliance coalition headed by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) suffered a large setback in the polls. The largely Chinese opposition Democratic Action Party and Gerakan gained in the elections, and secured a police permit for a victory parade through a fixed route in Kuala Lumpur. However, the rowdy procession deviated from its route and headed through the Malay district of Kampong Bahru, jeering at the inhabitants.

While the Gerakan party issued an apology the next day, UMNO announced a counter-procession starting from the head of Selangor state Dato’ Harun bin Idris on Jalan Raja Muda. Reportedly, the gathering crowd was informed that Malays on their way to the procession had been assaulted by Chinese in Setapak, several miles to the north. The angry protestors swiftly wreaked revenge by killing two passing Chinese motorcyclists, and the riot begun.

The riot ignited the capital Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding state of Selangor, but except for minor disturbances in Melaka the rest of the country stayed calm. A nationwide state of emergency and accompanying curfew was declared on May 16, but the curfew was relaxed in most parts of the country for two hours on May 18 and not enforced even in central Kuala Lumpur within a week.

However, according to police figures, 184 people died and 356 were wounded. 753 cases of arson were logged and 211 vehicles were destroyed or severely damaged. Other sources place the number of dead at 196 or even above 200.

This incident however caused the internal challenges of the nation state facing problems that are internal in nature. The May 13 issue is caused by factors like politics, and racism.

Malaysian Church Bombing(Weehan)

         Another factor that causes internal security issues within a state is difference religious beliefs. Due to different beliefs about faith, spirituality and God, many tragedies have occurred such as church bombings, terrorist attacks and even genocide for some extreme cases. Many of these problems can also happen internally within a state.

         This is especially more rampant when a state exists with many different races, with their own respective religions and beliefs, coexisting within a nation. When a member from one party makes a religious statement or broadcast in which members of the other nation disagrees with, tension can occur which results in issues concerning security within the state. Religious conflicts are not often caused by other foreign powers but rather based on differences of spiritual and religious ideology, be it whether internally within a state or internationally between nation states.

         Take for instance the church bombings that happened locally in Kuala Lumpur recently. Somewhere around the beginning of January, the Metro Tabernacle church in Desa Melawati was attacked in the middle of the night. No one was hurt and there were no violent confrontations but apparently, several Molotov cocktail was thrown into the church office, causing a massive fire, damaging the building’s infrastructure. As a result of that, the church building was no longer safe for normal religious service.

         The attack was caused sparked by a debate of whether or not the name of the holy god of Islam, Allah could be used in other religious text in which a Catholic Church newsletter, the Herald, was caught using. In that article, God was quoted as Allah in which the text says that the name of the Christian God was also known as that. The details of the article remain indefinite but in conclusion, members of Islam who were involved claimed that the article was seditious and perverse the name of their holy god, sparking a lot hatred between Muslims towards the Christian community and ultimately, the church.

         Despite governmental intervention and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Bin Abdulk Razak’s condemning the attack, stating that the attacks destroy Malaysia’s harmony, the issue was not easily put to rest as more churches have been assaulted by angry members of the Islamic community. This goes to show that issues caused by religious differences in belief are not easily put to rest even with pressure and action by the state itself.

         States like Indonesia and Nepal also suffer greatly from these kind of issues as Christian persecutions in Indonesia have become increasingly rampant since the 1980’s with many Christians even killed and their churches either desecrated or destroyed due to apparent ‘blasphemies’. Conflicts and confrontations between the Buddhist community and the state are also regular in global news as the issue with the Dalai Lama remains unresolved. Riots, demonstrations and attacks have made many parts within states unsafe due to these issues.

         Religious issues are more difficult to resolve since it involves strong and deep beliefs about God and faith between various different people that have been implanted since young for many years. These thoughts and beliefs so strong that certain extremists are willing to kill destroy and even to the extent of conducting suicide bombings to so to speak, defend their beliefs. When these religious based conflicts occur within a state between its rightful citizens, safety and security is undoubtedly compromised and civil war always at risk of breaking out.

The Black May 13, 1998-Indonesia(Sean)

Another example of internal security crisis caused by internal challenges is the Black May 13 in Indonesia. This crisis happened in Jakarta which was triggered by racial issue. It was an anti-Chinese riots that happened in 13 May 1998. It was also known as Black May as it happened in the month of May. The Muslims in Indonesia launched a series of attacks against Chinese in these riots. According to the Indonesian government investigating agency, a total of 1250 Chinese in Indonesia were killed, 24 were injured, and 85 women were gang raped. The riots somehow appeared to be planned. Majority of Chinese were burned to death in commercial area and supermarket. Meanwhile, some of them were killed on the spot. There were many buildings destroyed during this riot. A number of approximately 2500 buildings were destroyed which included houses, shops, private offices, banks, factories, shopping malls, markets and villas. There was a report which compiled by the Jakarta human rights and women’s studies organization, that there were more than 5000 mobs which involved in the rape and gang raped. The government of Indonesia continued to be accused with serious human rights issues.

This was a serious violence accident which condemned by the international community. In mainland China, Indonesia had been listed as one of the most offensive country due to this incident.

Five years after the riots , the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) made an oral intervention on ‘Racially motivated riots in Indonesia in May 1998’ at the 59th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights under the Agenda Item which included racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination. The ALRC also stated that the Government of Indonesia lacked the political will to act against those responsible for the riots of May 1998. Without international pressure, the guilty parties will continue to operate with impunity, and gross violations of human rights will continue unabated in Indonesia.

Security Issues in the Philippines(Aryton)

         Philippines had been embroiled in many internal issues such as Kidnapping, Terrorism and Corruption for many years. Political leaders in the Philippines would like to believe that kidnapping is about to become a thing of the past. Recent police statements have focused on their “success” in neutralizing five of the twenty-one known kidnap-for-ransom gangs operating in the country. Yet the facts suggest otherwise showing that sadly the Philippines is still the kidnap capital of Asia. Indeed the BBC has

dubbed the Philippines as “the kidnapping capital of the world”.

         Groups involved in the kidnapping trade are of concern because their continued existence belies claims that peace and order – a stated high priority of the Arroyo Administration – is being restored to the country. This of itself discourages foreign investors from coming here. When the foreigners themselves become the targets of kidnappers, a further dimension is added to an already complex problem.

         Yet far from being under control, there is evidence that suggests the problem may be compounding. Government officials have recently reported that kidnap gangs from other Asian countries are moving into the Philippines to take advantage of the situation. These groups target only their own countrymen and in one recent case are suspected of arriving in the country and carrying out their first kidnapping on the same day.

         The Philippines Government has of late had some success dealing with the Abu Sayyaf and a previously unreported hostage held by that group was released only this past week after it was discovered that he was unable to raise any significant ransom. Instead a small fee was paid for his release.

         Add to this scenario the realization that in spite of the fact that the US Government has offered rewards of up to five million USD for the capture of three suspects involved in the previous kidnapping of US missionaries and citizens, the suspects are still at large and (presumably) protected by the local populace – and you have an idea of why government and business needs to take a serious look at the kidnapping problem and its root cause.

         The threat is nationwide but Metro Manila and Mindanao are the two areas that have seen the greatest number of kidnapping cases. The amounts paid for the release of hostages varies widely. The “tried and tested formula” can be from upwards of 100 million pesos down to a few thousand pesos extracted from foreigners held hostage for the use of their ATM cards.

         One of the major causes of the kidnapping crisis is the abject poverty of such a large section of the Filipino population and the prevalence of guns within the community. Looking beyond this, especially in the South is the issue of land – who owns it and who occupies it.

         There is, sadly, no shortage of desperate people willing to join kidnapping groups. A number of these groups are organized on the basis of provincial origin or kinship group. This keeps them tighter knit and helps them communicate privately. Throw into this equation the historical problems of Mindanao and you have yet another dimension to add to the crisis.

         Muslim Millitants had been causing many internal challenges and unrest to the present government in Phillippines for the past years. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was probably the most violent of the Islamic anti-government groups before the Abu Sayyaf took this claim. The MILF is believed to have been behind the recent mall bombings in Manila, and also claimed responsibility for bombing the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta. The MILF has reached a negotiated settlement with the Philippines government, but still maintain relationships with a number of other kidnap groups and even the Abu Sayyaf.

         The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has generally held to a more moderate stance and negotiated a settlement with the Ramos administration (1996) which led to the creation of the ARMM (Autonomous Regions of Muslim Mindanao). Although this agreement is viewed by many as a political mess, Nur Misuari, who ran the MNLF, was rewarded by being elected governor of the ARMM. However in spite of being given political respectability, he was believed to be playing both sides and never fully stopped his involvement with the more disruptive groups. He was rumored to have given (or approved) logistical support to the Abu Sayyaf for abducting their hostages from Palawan. Subsequently he fell out with the Philippines government and the Malaysian authorities apprehended him fleeing to Malaysia. He is back in the Philippines under arrest in Laguna but some of his supporters are believed to remain actively involved with kidnappings gangs.

         Another issue facing the Phillippines is the issue of corruption. Analysis so far reveals a broad consensus in government, non-governmental, and international circles that corruption in the public and private sectors in the Philippines is pervasive and deep-rooted, touching even the judiciary and the media.

         A survey was conducted by organizations to the people regarding corruption of their government. The survey revealed that nearly two thirds of the respondents thought there was corruption in government-38 percent said “a great deal,” 34 percent said “some.” A similar survey for 1999 has been done but the results are not yet available. Another recent measure of prevalence of corruption in the Philippines is the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published by Transparency International. CPIs were calculated for 99 countries by conducting a poll. For the Philippines, the CPI was calculated as a composite index of 12 different polls and surveys. On an scale of 1 (high perception of corruption) to 10 (negligible perception), the CPI for the Philippines was 3.6 in 1999. Out of the 99 countries rated, the Philippines was perceived as the fifty-fifth least corrupt.

Political Issues involving Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s former Prime Minister (2001-2006)

         Currently Thailand is facing the worst political upheaval. The political uproar started with corruption involving Thaksin Shinawatra, an entrepreneur turned politician who was Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001 to 2006. He was deposed in a military coup and convicted in absentia for a conflict of interest. He was also, briefly, the owner of Manchester City Football Club from 2007 to 2008. Born in Chiang Mai Province, in the north of Thailand, he began his career in the police. He later resigned from the police and became a successful telecom entrepreneur. He is said to be one of the richest people in Thailand, with billions of dollars in wealth.

         However, the Shinawatra government also faced allegations of corruption, authoritarianism, treason, conflicts of interest, acting non-diplomatically, and muzzling of the press. Thaksin was accused of tax evasion and selling national assets to international investors. Massive protests occurred in 2006, and on 19 September 2006 a military junta overthrew Thaksin’s government in a bloodless coup while he was abroad. Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006. The former premier now lives in exile to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.

         Nevertheless, the former prime minister remains hugely popular among the rural poor, who have staged frequent rallies calling for his return to power. Recently, on March 14 2010, supporters of Thailand’s ousted Premier, Thaksin Shinawatra have gathered in the country’s capital Bangkok as their campaign for new elections enters its 14th day. Some 80,000 red-shirted protesters have marched from their main rally grounds to eight different locations where soldiers have been stationed. The so-called Red Shirts have called on the government to dissolve the parliament and call snap elections. They are aiming to exert more pressure on the military following its enforcement of heavy security response to the protest rallies.

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