‘I.S. HAS STRONG HOLD ON ASEAN RE­GION’

At­tacks are to en­sure peo­ple do not for­get them, says deputy IGP

New Straits Times - - News / Story of the day - TAN SRI NOOR RASHID IBRAHIM

TASNIM LOKMAN KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

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.”

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