Defence Minister: IS, terrorism threat in Malaysia ‘under control’

Yiswaree Palansamy
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu speaks to reporters during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur April 19, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said today that the threat of Islamic State (IS) and other forms of terrorism is very much under control.

The Kota Raja MP told reporters that his ministry together with the National Security Council (NSC) is working together to keep such elements under control.

He added that despite the fact that some in the armed forces were nabbed for their terrorism involvements, the government has placed those were detained under strict monitoring, including IS returnees from Iraq and Syria.

“There are some people who were nabbed and placed under monitoring now, but the situation of (terrorism) threats overall for Malaysia, is under control.

“Including those who came back from the Middle East, especially from Iraq and Syria are under watch, and this group in Malaysia are not that much troublesome for us,” Mohamad told a select group of reporters in a special interview session.

He said that the defence ministry together with the NSC have always prioritised matters concerning extremism, and are also working together their Asean nations to address the issue.

He said that the relevant agencies are also always on the lookout, taking early initiatives to prevent any untoward incidents.

Mohamad was speaking to reporters ahead of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) first year in Putrajaya, after defeating Barisan Nasional (BN) in the May 9 national polls last year.

It has been reported that more than 100 Malaysians had joined IS and currently, there are 51 Malaysians still in Syria, including 17 children.

Last month, the federal police’s Counterterrorism division chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told the Al-Jazeera news outlet that Malaysia had offered to let former recruits to return home if they agreed to enter the government’s deradicalisation scheme.

He revealed that 11 Malaysians were already back and eight of them are to be charged or have been convicted in court.

The IS “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq has all but collapsed as the latest US-backed offensive under the Syrian Democratic Forces is out to take the last village stronghold in Baghouz, eastern Syria.

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