‘Threat of terrorism getting more worrying’

Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Seri Anifah Aman

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The terrorism threat in Malaysia is real and it has become more alarming following the hand grenade attack at the Movida Night Club in June 2016, as the first ever successful Daesh attack in Malaysia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the world has witnessed an increase in number, randomness and intensity of terrorist attacks.

“No nation is immune to the threat of terrorism, including Malaysia. We and other countries in the Southeast Asian region are facing increasing threats from foreign terrorist fighters as well as from our own returning countrymen who joined Daesh in Iraq and Syria,” Anifah said when addressing the ‘Issues and Challenges in Managing Malaysia’s Foreign Relations’ dialogue session at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) yesterday.

Apart from targeting physical infrastructure in Malaysia, Anifah said the Daesh also infiltrated the minds of the young by infecting them with its malicious agendas and ideologies, through digital platforms.

He said it was fortunate that the Malaysian authorities had managed to thwart several attempts to launch these attacks on Malaysian soil and had arrested Daesh sympathisers and operatives.

He added: “Malaysia believes that to tackle the scourge of terrorism, there has to be a broad base and long-term strategy, as military actions alone are inadequate without addressing the root causes and adopting a multi-pronged approach.”

Preventive measures, vigilance, education, public awareness and de-radicalisation campaigns together with effective rehabilitation programmes are all necessary to combat these threats.

“We have countered terrorism messaging with creative digital end products, which cover a range of themes that are highly relevant to counter violent extremism.

“This include raising awareness among parents of youth that could be vulnerable to radicalisation to attacking the myths of ‘masculinity’ associated with the romanticised notion of Jihad.”

Malaysia remains committed to tackle the terrorism issue, include strengthening its legal framework.

Following the strengthening of national legislation in 2015, in particular through the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 and Special Measure Against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act 2015, Anifah said the number of terrorist suspects arrested by Malaysian authorities has increased substantially.