Malaysia's DPM: Militants can't come home

KUCHING - Over 130 Malaysians who are now in Syria and Iraq fighting for the Islamic State (IS) will not be allowed to return home, said Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister said police were working with Interpol to ensure that these militants do not come back to Malaysia.

"The decision to bar them from returning home is to safeguard the country's peace and stability," said Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister.

He said a total of 132 Malaysians had been identified to be still fighting for IS in Syria and Iraq.

"Malaysia belongs to all ethnic groups and we want to maintain peace and stability in the country. The Prime Minister has given his commitment that peace and harmony will be given priority.

"As Home Minister, I am translating his commitment," he said at a Chinese New Year gathering organised by Kuching South City Council yesterday.

Speaking to reporters at the Prison Department's Day here later, Dr Ahmad Zahid said Malaysia had achieved a 97 per cent de-radicalisation rate among those detained for militancy and extremism.

As such, he said Malaysia's programme could be considered the best in the world, adding that the Government's anti-terrorism rehabilitation methods were recognised as effective by the United Nations and Interpol.

"We are the most successful. Ours is a global model.

"That is why we were the host of a recent conference on de-radicalisation and countering violent extremism."

He said there were about 130 people in prison for involvement with militants, radicals and extremists.

"They do no mix with the general prison inmates.

"They are isolated, rehabilitated and de-radicalised," he said, adding that help from psychologists and non-governmental bodies were key factors to the department's success.