KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia’s counter-terrorism centre, which is being set up in Kuala Lumpur, will likely be operational in about six months, Foreign Affairs Ministry Deputy Secretary General (Special Functions) Datuk N. Parameswaran said.
He said renovation work was being carried out for the centre while they identified the person to head the facility which is likely to come under the ministry.
After co-chairing the two-day Asean Regional Forum Inter-Sessional Meeting (ARF-ISM) on counter-terrorism and trans-national crime here on Saturday, Parameswaran said there was great interest in the centre among the 117 delegates from 19 countries.
“We presented a paper on it and explained that it was a wholly Malaysian government set-up,” he said, adding that similar centres in China and Tashkent were keen to have links.
The ARF-ISM meeting co-chaired by Malaysia and the United States focused on the movement of people, goods and document security.
Parameswaran said various new ideas were forwarded by delegates who spoke about the need for “harmonisation” of immigration and customs procedures and improving contacts between agencies of various countries.
These include setting up a register of contacts among immigration officials.
“We are very decided about controlling the movements of people who enter the country with bad intentions or illegally,” he said, adding that the meeting also discussed the issue of improved border security.
“Many terrorists have entered countries legally or sometimes with forged documents,” he said adding that the Australian system was an example to learn from.
Their system allows them to identify the people entering Australia even before they board the plane (to Australia), he said, adding that such immigration controls could be considered “best practices.”
Other ideas discussed at the meeting was the use of biometric technology and how developed countries could help less advanced nations to introduce such technology and provide the necessary expertise.
He said Malaysian and South Korean officials also made presentations about their respective countries’ passport technology.
Delegates also shared how they worked with their neighbouring countries in combating terrorism with Malaysia talking about its co-operation with Singapore and Indonesia in tracking and detaining Jemaah Islamiah members.