MFA Spokesman's Comments

In response to press queries on Singapore's reaction to comments in the Indonesian media on SM Lee's recent remarks about terrorist masterminds in Indonesia, the MFA spokesman said:

"Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew said that the masterminds of the arrested Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives here were still at large in Indonesia and that the danger to Singapore would only go away when the nests of Al Qaeda trained operatives around us were broken up.

Abu Bakar Bashir, who had a leadership role in the JI terrorist network in Singapore, is known to be living openly in Solo, Central Java. He has even given interviews to the Singapore and Indonesian media.

Another suspected leader of the JI network in Singapore, Hambali, is also believed to be in Indonesia.

These facts are well known and had already been widely reported in the regional and international media. Singapore's security agencies have also briefed their Indonesian counterparts on their links with the JI network in Singapore.

The Indonesian reactions are therefore very puzzling.

In addition to Indonesia, Singapore's security agencies have shared intelligence on the terrorist suspects with Malaysia and the Philippines. Malaysia and the Philippines have arrested several terrorist suspects."

20 FEBRUARY 2002

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