KUALA LUMPUR - The terror threat in Malaysia has reached a new level - the link between foreign and local fighters via social media has led to greater funding for terrorism activities.
And now the foreign militants are trying to influence local political parties through their members.
On Wednesday, prime minister Najib Razak tabled a White Paper in the Parliament, which detailed the "real threat" that terrorist groups like Islamic State (IS) and others in the region present to Malaysia.
Home minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the White Paper touches on proposed measures to combat and prevent terrorism.
"The threat is real and we hope this (White Paper) will create more awareness on both sides of the political divide and Malaysians as a whole.
"If they (IS) can kill among Muslims, then they are able to kill non-Muslims (also).
"People must be alerted (to this) and precautions should be taken," he said in an exclusive interview at the Putra World Trade Centre on Nov 24.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said Najib also touched on the involvement of Malaysians in terror cells and the need to amend existing laws or introduce new ones to combat terrorism.
Saying the ministry had looked at these options, he added: "We will either strengthen the seven existing laws by amending the clauses or propose a new Anti-Terrorism Act as a preventive measure.
"If introduced, the new Act will complement Sosma (the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act) and PCA (the Prevention of Crime Act)," he said.
Previously, the government tabled White Papers on the Al-Ma'unah group and the Baling incident involving supporters of a religious group.
"This time around, the foreign threat is real and the threat from within is also real," stressed Dr Ahmad Zahid.
"What is worse now is that Malaysian fighters are connected to foreign fighters and this poses a whole new level of threat."