LANGKAWI - The 10 ASEAN defence ministers have pledged to do whatever it takes to counter the Islamic State (IS) threat.
The pledge was made during the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM), chaired by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein here.
He said the member countries have collaborated against the IS threat in their region during the exchange of views at the meeting themed "ASEAN: Maintaining Regional Security and Stability for and by the people".
"This is a historical moment where all ASEAN defence ministers have joined hands to tackle this grave threat through the sharing of intelligence and monitoring the programmes and development of the IS.
"IS is a threat which cannot be taken lightly. The ministers shared the opinion that the root causes should be identified and the public educated," he said at a press conference after the signing of the Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defence Ministers of Maintaining Regional Security and Stability for and by the people yesterday.
He also said that all the ministers have also adopted three concept papers, one of which is the ASEAN Militaries' Ready Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
Hishammuddin said the ministers will be working together during disasters.
In Kuala Lumpur, Hishammuddin said Malaysia will not join international efforts in taking a direct action against the IS.
The country is focusing more on citizens influenced by the militant ideology, he said in a written reply in Parliament to Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh), who asked whether the Government was planning to send its troops to fight the IS.
He said the Government is monitoring all types of threats that could have an impact on national security.
"Cruelty and inhumanity committed by the IS are not acceptable at all," said Hishammuddin.
He added that the Government will stand firm with the international community in combating IS in accordance with the UN declaration.
A total of 68 Malaysians have been arrested so far for their alleged links to IS.