KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The ‘deradicalisation’ and legal approach by Malaysia in addressing terrorism may seem “soft”, but they are proven effective in submerging the situation.
The abolishment of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 2012 — a law that allowed a person to be detained without trial — saw a transformation in the country’s legal system.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the strategy to counter terrorism, especially threats by the Daesh (Islamic State) militant group, needed not be with the use of firearms and violence.
Instead, he said, the government adopted the deradicalisation process of rehabilitating those involved.
“Unlike is some western countries, their policy is more of elimination, they imprisoned and tortured those considered as terrorists.
“We do not torture, but we rehabilitate, one of the reasons why our law seems soft.
“The truth is our approach is better because terrorism cannot be fought with violence, it (approach) should not create anger that can lead to more attacks,” he told Bernama today.
Nur Jazlan said Malaysia’s approach was based on the concept of rehabilitation and refuted claims by some quarters that Malaysia was “weak” in countering terrorism and the punishment meted out did not commensurate with the offence committed.
He said terrorism was not new to Malaysia as it existed since 53 years ago after the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.
Since then, Malaysia has encountered and fought against various threats including terrorism and extremism, he added.
He said Malaysia was now able to counter all forms of threats, including terrorism and extremism, but also succeeded in rehabilitating those associated with communist insurgency and extremist religious groups like Al-Maunah and Al-Arqam.
Malaysia’s success in the deradicalisation of extremists and terrorists, which stood at 95 per cent gained world recognition and was evident when the country was selected by the United States of America to be the counter-messaging centre to address violent extremism.
On the legal aspect, Nur Jazlan said law reforms were made in keeping abreast with terrorist activities.
“In those days, they (terrorists), leaders and followers, gathered in one place. It was easy for us to make surveillance and conduct raids.
“Before, we have the ISA, and now without the ISA, we have to take preventive measures,” he added.
The government, he said, also always stepped up security, despite the limited number of security members, with comprehensive use of the latest technology and sharing of intelligence information with other countries to detect terrorist groups.
With the repeal of the ISA, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 was enforced on Sept 1, 2015.
POTA was enforced in line with the tabling of the White Paper, entitled ‘Towards Countering Threats Posed by Islamic State Militant Group’ by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Nov 26, 2014 before the Senate. — Bernama