SUBANG JAYA: The ultimate test for the Government in combating the threats of extremism and militancy came through the ballot box, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
As shown in the recent general election, when the landslide victory of the Barisan Nasional saw it recapturing Terengganu from PAS and denying the party a two-third majority in Kelantan, Malaysia has been successful in defeating extremism through the democratic process, he said.
The overwhelming mandate showed the people accepted our model and approach of Islam and rejected the opposition's narrow and extreme view of Islam, he said when opening the ninth Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2004 exhibition and conference at the Sheraton Subang Hotel here, last night.
Some 550 exhibitors from 46 countries, including 35 defence companies from Malaysia, are taking part in the five-day exhibition at the APAC Exhibition Centre.
One hundred and seventeen delegates from 23 countries, comprising defence ministers, secretaries-general, chiefs of defence forces, service chiefs, inspectors-general of police, directors-general of immigration and Customs are taking part in the conference.
Najib, who is also the Defence Minister said the Malaysian experience in dealing with terrorist threats from communist guerillas since its independence to militant groups, such as the al-Maunah and fragments of the Jemaah Islamiah network, in recent times might serve as a valuable example to other countries.
Steps taken to overcome these threats included educating the public on the dangers of militant groups and strengthening the security forces along common borders with other countries to prevent infiltration and close escape routes.
Najib said Malaysia preferred rehabilitation, counselling and reintegration of these groups into mainstream society, citing that when it dealt with the communists terrorists, the Government sought to understand the reasons for their struggle and proceeded to win them over.
Asean countries, he said, now faced security threats from multiple sources secessionist movements, piracy on the high seas, illegal immigrants, human trafficking, drug trafficking, transnational crimes and have to also deal with potential flash points over territorial claims.
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