KING SAL­MAN CEN­TRE FOR PEACE BE­GINS OP­ER­A­TIONS

It will be moved within two years af­ter suit­able location is found, says Hisham

New Straits Times - - News - news@nst.com.my ZAFIRA AN­WAR KUALA LUMPUR

THE King Sal­man Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Peace (KSCIP) be­gan its first day of op­er­a­tions yes­ter­day from its tem­po­rary of­fice in the city.

De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein said the cen­tre would be re­lo­cated to its per­ma­nent premises within the next two years while ex­perts study a strate­gic location and ar­chi­tec­ture for the cen­tre.

“I’m glad to an­nounce that we are now in the po­si­tion to op­er­ate the cen­tre.”

He said Saudi Ara­bia De­fence Min­is­ter Prince Mo­hammed Sal­man Al Saud, who was ini­tially sched­uled to ar­rive in the coun­try to­day to launch the cen­tre, had to post­pone his trip to a later date.

“The launch­ing cer­e­mony is only sym­bolic to get it op­er­a­tionalised.

“Un­for­tu­nately Prince Mo­hammed is un­able to come as planned be­cause of rea­sons be­yond his con­trol.

“We are post­pon­ing his trip to pos­si­bly af­ter Hari Raya Aidil­fitri.”

He said the KSCIP would be linked to the re­cently launched Global Cen­tre for Com­bat­ing Ex­trem­ist Ide­ol­ogy in Riyadh, which Malaysia had in­ter­ests in.

“I be­lieve this is the way for­ward.

“To fight ter­ror­ism through soft power, counter nar­ra­tive and win­ning of hearts and minds as op­posed to just mil­i­tary ini­tia­tives,” he said yes­ter­day af­ter dis­tribut­ing 3,000 packs of bubur

lam­buk to the min­istry’s staff at its head­quar­ters.

Hisham­mud­din said an an­nounce­ment would be made to de­cide on the board of trus­tees com­pris­ing in­ter­na­tional per­son­al­i­ties who would con­trib­ute to KSCIP.

“We need to de­cide on the board of trus­tees led by Prince Mo­hammed and I, over­seen by Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man Ab­du­laziz Al Saud and Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak.”

In March, fol­low­ing King Sal­man’s state visit, both Malaysia and Saudi Ara­bia had agreed to es­tab­lish the cen­tre in Malaysia, which would fo­cus on com­bat­ing ex­treme nar­ra­tives.

Agen­cies con­cerned with the es­tab­lish­ment co­or­di­nated to com­plete the nec­es­sary ar­range­ments to launch the cen­tre within a 90-day dead­line.

Com­ment­ing on the re­cent spate of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in the re­gion, Hisham­mud­din said he had in­structed the Malaysian Armed Forces to in­crease mil­i­tary pres­ence in Sabah as the coun­try was not spared from fall­ing prey to ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

“We have to work with other agen­cies as there is an at­tempt to es­tab­lish a caliphate in the re­gion.

“I will also dis­cuss this mat­ter with my coun­ter­parts dur­ing the Shangri-La Di­a­logue from June 2 to 4 in Sin­ga­pore.”

He also said a tri­lat­eral Sulu Strait ini­tia­tive for both mar­itime and air pa­trol would be launched on June 19 to form a new joint en­force­ment work­ing group.

PIC BY ZULFADHLI ZULKIFLI

De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein (left) dis­tribut­ing ‘bubur lam­buk’ to his min­istry’s staff in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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