KUCHING: Islamic State (IS) militants under detention have managed to influence seven of their prison warders with their ideology. The warders have since been sent for deradicalisation, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
“This might come as alarming news but I acknowledge that seven warders who were looking after terror suspects in a prison were influenced to the point that we had to send them to be deradicalised,” he said.
He was explaining why all detained militants were now being segregated from regular prisoners.
“We have started isolating these suspects whom we call ideological criminals because their crimes are motivated by ideology. We do not want the other prisoners to be influenced by them,” he told reporters after attending a Hari Raya gathering for state Home Ministry personnel at Kompleks Islam Sarawak here yesterday.
Dr Ahmad Zahid also said the Kamunting detention centre in Taiping, which formerly held Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees, would be used to hold terror suspects.
“We have refurbished it and built a new block where these suspects will be detained,” he said.
He added that psychologists and ulama would be roped in to help the authorities curb the spread of terror ideology.
"Besides the Prisons Department and police, our efforts will involve psychologists from the Health Ministry and universities,” he said.
In his speech earlier, Dr Ahmad Zahid said 261 Malaysians had been detained for involvement in militant activities while another 63 were in Syria and Iraq.
He said besides segregation, the authorities were making efforts to deradicalise and rehabilitate the detained militants so that they became assets rather than liabilities to the country.
He also urged the public to remain vigilant at all times saying “it is no longer a question of if but when a terror attack will happen.”
He also called on the police to step up their efforts to tackle organised crime following the recent spate of fatal shootings in the country, including the gunning down of a moneylender in Setapak on Wednesday.
“Perhaps we should conduct Ops Cantas 2.0 as a heightened operation against organised crime,” he said, adding that this would also help boost public confidence in the police’s ability to reduce and prevent crime.