Isis threat real, is government taking it seriously, asks Dr M

Isis threat real, is government taking it seriously, asks Dr M

As the threat of the Islamic State (Isis) gets closer, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today asked whether the government was taking the matter seriously.

Malaysia's longest serving prime minister wrote in his blog today that the threat was much closer to home than the government was willing to admit as there were now reports of Malaysians joining rebel groups in Syria.

There were also reports that Muslims from the Philippines, Indonesia, and even Singapore were taking part in the rebellion, he said, adding that according to news reports, there were now more than 30,000 Isis jihadists.

"Every day, more and more Muslims, in Europe and Asia, are leaving to join Isis.

"All this is happening in the Middle East, far from our country. (But) are we safe?" he asked.

Based on the current situation, Dr Mahathir said there was a possibility that rebels from neighbouring countries would launch an attack on Malaysia on the pretext of forming an Islamic nation.

"This idea of establishing an Islamic country is interesting, especially in the minds of Muslim youths everywhere as many are disappointed that there is no such establishment around that can be deemed the saviour of the religion, the believers and the country," he said.

Dr Mahathir also reminded Malaysians of the Islamic State’s cruelty in targeting not only its enemy, the Shias, but also fellow Sunnis whom they considered less Islamic or who were against their beliefs.

“This Isis group is so violent that they have no qualms of shooting captured Iraqi soldiers who are Muslims in the back, as seen in videos,” he said.

“In their own video, one of their followers also beheaded an American journalist and these people were claimed to be Muslims from Britain.”

Closer to home, Dr Mahathir said the Sabah intrusion last year and al-Maunah siege in 2000 were grim reminders that security threats to the country were real and present.

"Remember, Sabah happened. Here in the peninsula, we have the al-Maunah," he said.

He said it would not be hard for such groups to turn violent again if there were calls to form their version of an Islamic country here.

"The government, until now, doesn't seem to be taking the past intrusions seriously. Kidnappings are still happening. Now, there are calls for Sabah to leave Malaysia.

"If for instance, this call is equated with the idea of forming an Islamic nation, more youngsters will be easily influenced," he said.

"But the government seems to be unaware of this. No action is being taken... and the Internal Security Act [is] gone.

"Remember, no one expected militants would strike Sabah, but it happened!" he said. – September 29, 2014.