‘I.S. HAS STRONG HOLD ON ASEAN REGION’
Attacks are to ensure people do not forget them, says deputy IGP
TASNIM LOKMAN KUALA LUMPUR firstname.lastname@example.org
THE bombings in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are a reminder that Islamic State’s presence in this region is “a real threat” to Malaysia.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said this proved that IS had a strong hold on the Asean region, and they would make sure that people do not forget them.
“It is a threat to us. When people forget about their existence, they try to remind us…
“They (the attacks) are a reminder.”
Noor Rashid said Malaysia was located at the centre of the recent attacks, agreeing that the country might face the same fate.
“Above, below and on the right have all been hit. That is why we have increased our alertness and vigilance.”
Noor Rashid said relevant departments were instructed to step up intelligence gathering to ensure that the authorities were always a step ahead.
He said border forces were ordered to be on high alert, especially with regards to smuggling activities.
“The public must lodge reports if they see suspicious activities... such as in homes that previously did not have many people, but suddenly there are gatherings.”
On reports that Malaysians were involved in the fight in Marawi, the Philippines, Noor Rashid said he had yet to get details of the incident.
Political and foreign policy analyst Dr Muhammad Fuad Othman echoed the same sentiments.
He said Malaysia was not immune to such attacks, and added that the country had its own organised terror groups.
He said police dealt with such problems by arresting a few suspects, but terror groups were hard to detect without a brilliant intelligence service.
“We must take all the necessary steps to ensure our safety always take precedence as terror attacks are indiscriminate and leave devastating effects.”
On whether an attack could be triggered out of revenge for the killing of IS militant Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi in Syria, Fuad said it was possible.
However, he said, such attacks needed to be planned much earlier to ensure success.
International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals Centre for Security Studies Southeast Asia regional director Andrin Raj said all Southeast Asian countries were IS targets.
He said the attacks carried a clear message that IS was gaining confidence and showing defiance against the region’s authorities.
Andrin said although initial investigations of the Bangkok attack leaned towards a politically-motivated reason, further investigation was needed to confirm and validate the motive.
However, he said, based on reports, the attacks in the Philippines and Indonesia were linked to groups who had pledged allegiance to IS.
When people forget about their existence, they try to remind us… They (the attacks) are a reminder.”