CAR­NAGE IN PHILIP­PINE CITY

PHILIP­PINE forces are en­gaged in fierce gun bat­tles with Is­lamic State-linked mil­i­tants who have mur­dered at least 11 civil­ians in Marawi on Min­danao is­land. In Jakarta, an elite anti-ter­ror­ism unit storms the home of a man be­lieved to have blown him­self

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

THARANYA ARUMUGAM KUALA LUMPUR tharanya@nst.com.my

THE re­cent spate of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in In­done­sia, Thai­land and clashes in the Philip­pines are linked to the killing of South­east Asian Is­lamic State co­or­di­na­tor Mo­ham­mad Wan­ndy Mo­hamed Jedi.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said an in­tel­li­gence agency re­vealed that the re­cent at­tacks in Jakarta, Bangkok, Pat­tani and Min­danao were launched in re­tal­i­a­tion to Wan­ndy’s death in Syria last March.

He said IS had a re­gional net­work called Kat­i­bah Nu­san­tara.

“We in Malaysia should not feel com­fort­able in this sit­u­a­tion.

“We are aware of this and the au­thor­i­ties are con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties and are on the look­out for sus­pi­cious acts,” he said af­ter launch­ing the Big Splash Open Data pro­gramme in Univer­siti Malaya yes­ter­day.

Zahid, who is also home min­is­ter, said the po­lice anti-ter­ror­ism unit and the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil were on high alert fol­low­ing the at­tacks.

He cau­tioned that an at­tack like the Manch­ester bomb­ing could hap­pen in this re­gion.

Be­sides de­ploy­ing uni­formed po­lice­men in key ar­eas, he said plain­clothes of­fi­cers were also pa­trolling pub­lic hotspots.

“Bomb­ings can hap­pen any­time, any­where and Malaysia is not im­mune to ter­ror­ist threats.

“We will face the same sit­u­a­tion if we are not care­ful and if we are not equipped and pre­pared to face such threats.

“The coun­try is go­ing to host sev­eral ma­jor events (the Sea Games and Asean Para Games in Au­gust and Septem­ber, re­spec­tively) and we must be ready to pre­vent such at­tacks.

“We urge the pub­lic to have full con­fi­dence in the po­lice and other en­force­ment agen­cies, and to not view lightly the re­cent ter­ror at­tacks.”

Zahid called on the pub­lic to be vig­i­lant and re­port any­thing sus­pi­cious to the au­thor­i­ties.

He noted that there was joint co­op­er­a­tion with In­ter­pol and Aseanapol mem­ber coun­tries, where in­for­ma­tion would be shared be­tween the po­lice and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

“Be­sides, we also have a data­base of sus­pected ter­ror­ists, and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ad­vanced Pas­sen­ger Screen­ing Sys­tem will pre­vent those with ter­ror­ism back­ground from en­ter­ing the coun­try.

“We also mon­i­tor all en­try points in the coun­try, in­clud­ing sev­eral lorong tikus. And we are work­ing closely with other agen­cies, such as car­ry­ing out joint pa­trols with the armed forces.”

On Wed­nes­day, a pair of sui­cide bombers killed three In­done­sian po­lice of­fi­cers near a bus sta­tion in Jakarta. Six other of­fi­cers and five civil­ians were in­jured.

On Mon­day, a sui­cide bomber killed 22 peo­ple and in­jured 64 when he det­o­nated ex­plo­sives at an Ari­ana Grande concert in Manch­ester, the United King­dom.

On the same day, a bomb ex­plo­sion at the Royal Thai Army-af­fil­i­ated Phra­mongkutk­lao Hospi­tal, known as the King Mongkut Hospi­tal, in­jured 24 peo­ple.

Ear­lier this month, a car bomb in Pat­tani had in­jured 60 peo­ple.

In ad­di­tion, Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte had de­clared mar­tial law on the coun­try’s south­ern is­land of Min­danao af­ter a gun bat­tle be­tween Is­lamic State-af­fil­i­ated Maute group and se­cu­rity forces in Marawi City.

Mean­while, Zahid hoped that the open data por­tal, data.gov.my, set up by the gov­ern­ment would en­cour­age greater in­no­va­tion in data anal­y­sis.

Cur­rently, he said, there were 1,973 data sets in the por­tal that was open to the pub­lic, and the gov­ern­ment had set a tar­get of mak­ing 7,000 data sets by 2020.

“With this open data ini­tia­tive, we aim to cre­ate more trans­parency be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the pub­lic,” he added.

PIC BY YAZIT RAZALI

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi af­ter launch­ing the Big Splash Open Data pro­gramme at Univer­siti Malaya yes­ter­day. With him is Prasarana Group pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Seri Azmi Ab­dul Aziz (sec­ond from right).

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