Najib: We're not shaken by threat

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak.
PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will not be shaken by the video threat issued by the Malay-speaking wing of the Islamic State (IS).

A day after the video emerged - threatening revenge over the arrests of IS recruits - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak vowed that he would not allow Malaysia to be so open to infiltration from any terror groups.

"Here in Malaysia, we are firm in our resolve and fully committed to fight violent extremism.

"This threat is very real and my Government takes it very seriously.

"This is why we passed laws to combat terrorism effectively," he said in his speech before launching the International Conference on Deradicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism here yesterday.

Among the laws passed were the National Security Council Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), which some quarters allege to be contravening civil liberties.

"Malaysia will also be undaunted in this battle as are the brave men and women of the armed forces and police.

"I make no apology for taking every step to preserve that safety, and for making the security of all Malaysians and visitors my priority.

"We will not wait for an outrage to take place before putting all measures necessary in place," he said.

"The law is there to protect us all but the intention of those who want to bomb, maim and behead could never be placed above the peaceful majority, who firmly reject violence and war," added Najib.

"It is right to talk about striking a balance between civil liberties and national security.

"But let me tell you this. There are no civil liberties under Daesh (another name for Islamic State), and there are no shields against those who are set on committing acts of terrorism," he said.

The Prime Minister said he would not allow Malaysia to be like some countries which had come under terrorist attacks but did not have suitable legislation to deal with the problem promptly.

"In some (countries), it is not an offence to support Daesh, nor to travel abroad for terrorist-military training," he said.

He also stressed that clearing away distortions and lies about religion was also an important part in countering violent extremism.

"It can be done by retelling the narrative of Islam so that we make it absolutely clear that it is the extremists who are blasphemers.

"It is they who insult the Holy Quran and the Prophet Muhammad when they claim to act in their name and authority," he said.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178 requires member countries to formulate a programme for returning foreign terrorist fighters.

"I am happy to announce that the special rehabilitation module that we have formulated in Malaysia has been translated into three languages - Arabic, English and French - and will be distributed to all participants at this conference," he said.

Najib said that the conference was aimed at enhancing co-operation between security agencies in sharing and analysing the best practices from various deradicalisation programmes.

"It is also aimed at helping to identify the target groups who are vulnerable to extreme militant ideology," he said.

Present at the conference were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

Foreign officials and delegates from ASEAN and its nine strategic partners including Australia, France, Italy, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States are expected to participate in the two-day conference.

The Star reported that the Malay-speaking wing of the Islamic State - Katibah Nusantara - had posted a video, threatening revenge for the arrest of its recruits in Malaysia.

In the video, the Malaysian militants, who were based in Syria, spoke in Bahasa Malaysia, threatening those in Malaysia who opposed them while calling for their brothers in Somalia's Al-Shabaab to join them in the "real" front-line in Syria.