Malaysia defence ministry vows to fight 'sick' terror trend

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

KUALA LUMPUR - Armed Forces personnel or not, they are "enemies of the state", Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said of Armed Forces personnel involved in Islamic State (IS) or other terror groups.

The Defence Minister said the ministry had put in place measures to tackle the situation and to identify and catch those involved.

Hishammuddin said it did not matter if those involved were military personnel, "it does not make a difference".

"In my book, they are enemies of the state. We will combat them to the fullest," he told a press conference after attending the farewell ceremony for retiring Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar at Mindef on Wednesday.

Admiral Abdul Aziz is being succeeded by Admiral Datuk Seri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin.

"We are aware of the involvement of certain military personnel in IS," he said, adding that this problem was also being faced by other countries and Mindef would go all out to combat this "sick trend".

The Military Intelligence Unit had been tasked to monitor and identify personnel involved or in cahoots with IS, added Hisham­muddin.

"Exchanging intelligence among ASEAN countries is also important to successfully overcome the IS threat. Monitoring certain hotspots in the region is also vital, as some of the conflict zones can give rise to new threats," he said.

He added that IS was a different form of terror compared with al-Qaeda or Jemaah Islamiyah.

Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, who was at the event, said the ­military's religious unit would strengthen religious teachings, especially on the issue of jihad.

"It is important to ensure that our personnel are not fooled by the false jihad promoted by IS. The unit is working closely with Jakim to ensure that military personnel understand that the IS propaganda is not based on true Islamic teachings," he said.

At the same time, the military was also working closely with Bukit Aman to identify and apprehend personnel linked to IS, he added.

Bukit Aman is on high alert following the terror attacks in Paris on Friday.

IS has claimed responsibility for the carnage which killed at least 129 people.

Preparations for the ASEAN Summit here this week are also being relooked and security arrangements tightened.

On Sunday, the Defence Minister said ­several Malaysian leaders, including himself, were on the IS "hit list".

He said information on the IS threat was made known before the joint ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting in Langkawi in March.