‘WE CAN­NOT TAKE TER­ROR THREAT LIGHTLY’

‘Lone wolf’ at­tacks that hap­pened in Europe could oc­cur in our re­gion, too, says Hisham­mud­din

New Straits Times - - News -

HARIZ MOHD LANGKAWI news@nst.com.my

THE coun­try can­not af­ford to take the threat of ter­ror­ism lightly as South­east Asia also faces the risk of at­tack, said De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein fol­low­ing Wednesday’s ter­ror in­ci­dent in Lon­don.

He said the at­tack at Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Par­lia­ment, which left four peo­ple dead and scores oth­ers in­jured, proved it was a ne­ces­sity to ad­dress the is­sue of ter­ror­ism.

“What hap­pened in Europe could oc­cur in our re­gion. As I have re­minded the public, Al­ham­dulil­lah, our coun­try is peace­ful, and our se­cu­rity agen­cies have things un­der con­trol.

“How­ever, from the min­istry’s and armed forces’ per­spec­tive, we are con­cerned that once of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions (against the Is­lamic State) are suc­cess­ful, it is pos­si­ble for IS mem­bers to re­turn to their home coun­tries, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, the Philip­pines, Sin­ga­pore, as well as Malaysia.

“What I am most wor­ried about is the spread of ter­ror­ism on so­cial me­dia that might in­spire lone wolf at­tacks, such as what hap­pened in Nice and Lon­don,” Hisham­mud­din said af­ter a cer­e­mony in which the gov­ern­ment signed 35 agree­ments at the Langkawi International Mar­itime and Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion here yes­ter­day.

He said he was told that IS had al­ready claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Lon­don at­tack.

He said this was another rea­son the set­ting up of the King Sal­man Cen­tre for International Peace, an­nounced dur­ing the Saudi ruler’s state visit to Malaysia re­cently, could not wait.

“This is some­thing that we want to work on quickly, and it is on the fast track.

“The trust given by His Majesty to this cen­tre also shows that Saudi Ara­bia is confident with Malaysia’s abil­ity to come up with a counter-nar­ra­tive to the IS ide­ol­ogy.”

He said he had con­tacted his coun­ter­part in Lon­don to ex­tend his con­do­lences over the in­ci­dent, and to state that Malaysia was in sol­i­dar­ity with the United King­dom in fac­ing the tragedy.

For­eign Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ani­fah Aman with United States Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son at the US State Depart­ment in Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day.

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