Malaysia not ‘100pc’ free from IS threat, says counter-terrorism chief

Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism director Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin speaks during  the National Security Council briefing at the Akademi Kenegaraan in Kuala Lumpur, April 2, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism director Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin speaks during the National Security Council briefing at the Akademi Kenegaraan in Kuala Lumpur, April 2, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — No country in the world is safe from the Islamic State (IS) threat, and that includes Malaysia, Bukit Aman’s counter-terrorism director Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin said today.

In a special briefing on the twin threats of the IS and Islamic extremism in the country, the counter-terrorism director said police intelligence has shown the need to increase security measures to face the threat.

“There is no country in world that is 100 per cent guaranteed to be free from the IS threat, including Malaysia,” he said in executive media briefing here.

Ayub presented evidence at the briefing to support his claim, but the details were barred from public disclosure.

To date, there are an estimated 63 Malaysians in Syria fighting with the IS.

On top of that, as many as 240 Malaysians have been identified and were arrested from 2001 to 2009 for links to Jemaah Islamiyah, a group with an extensive network in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Southern Philippines that has professed support for the IS.

Ayub later said Malaysians are drawn to the IS ideology that those who fight with them are guaranteed a place in “jannah” (heaven) and that those who go against them are considered as apostates that Islam ordains to kill.

He added that this has driven them to believe that their own country is a part of an international conspiracy by infidels bent on preventing the rise of the Islamic caliphate as supposedly promised by Prophet Muhammad.

Ayub said such threats necessitate stronger laws and he voiced his support for the recently-tabled Prevention of the Terrorism Act, a controversial law that allows for preventive detention.

“But if you think it’s not necessary, then we cannot do anything… look at the evidence and good luck to Malaysia,” he said sarcastically.

Ayub added, however, that although the authorities need stronger laws to deal with the IS, the most effective weapon to battle them is the role of Islamic agencies in educating Muslims about the threat of Islamic extremism.

“Remember, this is an ideological war. What the police can only do is fight this problem at the upper end of it, the root cause is ideological,” he said.

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