BANGKOK: Malaysia does not rule out the possibility of the Islamic State (IS) shifting its operations to South-East Asia, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).
The Home Minister said Malaysian authorities would remain vigilant following the death of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an attack in Syria last month.
“We believe his death will open another chapter in the group’s terror operations.
“After losing much of its territories in Syria and Iraq, it is also looking for a new base.
“There are also growing threats from returning foreign terrorist fighters, online radicalisation and lone wolf attacks, ” he said at the Plenary Session of 13th Asean ministerial meeting on transnational crime (AMMTC) and its related meetings here.
The AMMTC is a platform to discuss transnational crime – including arms smuggling, terrorism, money laundering, sea piracy, people smuggling, human trafficking, international economic crime, cybercrime, illicit drug trafficking and the trafficking of wildlife and timber.
The plenary session provides the opportunity for ministers to share experiences and best practices, as well as to take stock of individual country’s challenges in combating transnational crime.
Muhyiddin said Malaysia had taken steps to fully utilise the Interpol database on “stolen and lost travel documents” to screen incoming travellers so that criminals or terrorists could be stopped from entering the country.
He said the establishment of the Counter Messaging Centre to monitor and disrupt online radicalisation on social media platforms had resulted in many arrests and had also pre-empted potential attacks.
“For the past six years, Malaysian police have successfully foiled 25 attempts by IS to carry out attacks in Malaysia and arrested 512 people suspected to be involved in IS-linked activities, ” he said.
Sharing its efforts to stop money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, Muhyiddin said Malaysia had necessary measures such as the launch of the Malaysia Financial Intelligence Network, which is a public-private partnership between the Financial Intelligence Unit, the police and financial institutions.
“This network will enable an intelligence-led approach that would improve the submission of suspicious transaction reports for necessary investigation and prosecution, ” he said.
On combating people smuggling and human trafficking, Muhyiddin reaffirmed Malaysia’s commitment to bring perpetrators to justice in relation to the human trafficking camps in Wang Kelian at the Malaysia-Thai border.
The mass killings grabbed headlines in May 2015 when police discovered 139 graves and 106 bodies, believed to be Rohingya and 29 illegal immigrant camps deep in the jungles of Bukit Genting Perah and Bukit Wang Burma, a few hundred metres from the border.Muhyiddin, who also raised concerns on the Rohingya crisis, said the violence in the Rakhine State had driven refugees into neighbouring countries.
“We call for the crisis in Rakhine State to be resolved. Give the Rohingya their rights, improve conditions for all communities in Rakhine and let the Rohingya return to their home in peace.
“Malaysia is committed to fully support actions and measures to combat transnational crime at the national, regional and international level, ” he said.
He added that transnational crime was a phenomenon that had grave implications on the stability, security, sovereignty and public order of individual nations.
“Malaysia believes that transnational crime is a serious global concern that could potentially endanger the stability and security of nations and threaten regional and international peace.
“We must find the opportunity to strengthen our working relations for us to establish an efficient channel of communications.
“We must come together collectively to share and coordinate our efforts and expand existing international cooperation against transnational crime issues, ” he said. — Bernama