PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian-funded South-East Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism was formally established yesterday and went straight to business organising a money-laundering seminar next month.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the centre headed by director-general Datuk Zainal Abidin Zain would ask Bank Negara to help organise the seminar for participants from the region.
Speaking to reporters after launching the centre here, he said Malaysia would fund and manage it instead of doing so jointly with the United States because it had the capacity and the experience to put down terrorism.
The United States has indicated that it is interested in co-operating with us in this regard, he added.
US State Secretary Colin Powell, during a visit to Malaysia last year, had singled out Malaysia as a possible regional centre to counter terrorism.
The centre, which is under Wisma Putra's jurisdiction, is located in Kuala Lumpur. It will organise training courses, seminars and workshops related to counter-terrorism.
Syed Hamid also said the centre would not be academic in nature.
Its workshops are more on practical approaches on how to respond to causes of terrorism. It is action-oriented and workshops are designed to come up with practical steps.
In his speech, Syed Hamid said Malaysia was confident that the centre would receive the support of not only countries in the region but also the United States, France, Britain, Germany and the United Nations.
The centre will examine the causes and origins of terrorism and conduct in-depth study on terrorist organisations in different parts of the world.
Border security will be given priority. It must be emphasised that the centre is not involved in operations nor serve as an intelligence agency but will work closely with security agencies both within the country and abroad.
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