Sunday, May 4, 2014

US Report: M'sia likely transit for terrorists

10:44AM May 4, 2014
Malaysia has been described by the United States as a country likely used by terrorist for transit or to conduct meetings.

The US' Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 released April 30 states that "Malaysia remained vulnerable to terrorist activity and was likely used as a transit and meeting site for terrorists".

This comes as police arrest 11 alleged to have links to terror groups, and issued warning against groups recruiting suicide bombers in Malaysia.

Although Malaysia is not considered a terrorist safe haven, the US report notes that violent extremists have been known to operate and hide in isolated "littoral areas" of the Sulu/Sulawesi Seas between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

However, it says that Malaysia had cooperated closely with the international community on counter-terrorism effort.

It said the “most significant” effort was the arrest of Al-Qaeda operative Yazid Sufaat under the newly introduced Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

"Malaysian authorities, including the Attorney General’s Chambers, viewed Yazid Sufaat’s case as an important barometer for the application of Sosma to successfully prosecute suspected terrorists," the report notes.

Sosma is a replacement of the Internal Security Act which was repealed in 2012 after decades of criticism over its use against political rivals.

Malaysia's position vulnerable

Likewise, the report said Malaysia's geographical position also made it vulnerable to exploitation for terrorism financing.

"However, Malaysia has a well-developed anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework," it says.

The report also pays attention to Malaysia's Prison Department efforts to de-radicalise extremist inmates through discipline, religious teachings and vocational training.

"Authorities worked with religious and social counselors, as well as community leaders and family members, to help released ISA detainees reintegrate into society," it says.

It also notes two terrorist incidents in Malaysia for 2013, namely the Lahad Datu intrusion and the Pom-Pom Island kidnapping, both in Sabah.
~ Malaysiakini

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