KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Not many people are aware that the threat of terrorist attacks in Malaysia is real.
This is generally because peace and security have always prevailed in the country, enabling Malaysians to carry out their daily lives without fear.
Malaysians were given a reality check when the first ever Islamic State-orchestrated attack hit Malaysian soil on June 28 when a hand grenade was hurled at an entertainment outlet in Puchong, resulting in eight people injured.
However, Malaysians know little about the behind-the-scene pre-emptive actions taken by the police that foiled at least 14 planned terror attacks in Malaysia by IS militants, said a senior anti-terrorism official.
Security officials were reluctant to share details of the attempted attacks due to the sensitive nature of the information.
But how did the authorities manage to foil the attempted terror attacks?
One of the ways was by curbing their ability to procure weapons or explosive devices by stopping the chanelling of funds to groups with nefarious intentions.
Federal police (Bukit Aman) Special Branch director Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said imposing restrictions on the militant group’s funding could serve as a hindrance for them to acquire firearms or explosives to launch attacks.
“We’re indeed doing surveillance and restrictions if there are individuals attempting to channel funds to the (militant) group. We (the Royal Malaysia Police or RMP) cannot reveal other measures,” he told Bernama here recently.
Exchange of intelligence also played a crucial role in the counter-terrorism measures in a bid to shield Malaysia from devastating attacks seen in international capitals like Paris, Brussels and Istanbul in 2016.
RMP had also collaborated with many agencies at international level by exchanging information in its bid to cripple IS which has been actively involved in spreading their influence via social media.
“We’re always monitoring this problem and will continue to do so...RMP will always be prepared to face any problem,” said Mohamad Fuzi.
According to statistics by the force, a total of 260 people, comprising locals and foreigners, have been detained in the country since 2013 for their alleged involvement in the militant group.
The government’s seriousness in combating this can be seen with launching of the National Special Operations Force (NSOF), which acts as the first responders against any terrorist threat. Launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on October 27, NSOF is now made of 17 officers and 170 members from the Malaysian Armed Forces, RMP and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
In sharing the country’s initiatives in combating terrorism within Asean and beyond, Kuala Lumpur has established The Digital Regional Counter-Messaging Communications Centre (RDC3) to combat the spread of militant ideologies and propaganda on the Internet.
Malaysia was also willing to share with the world its deradicalisation programme for convicts involved in extremist, radical and IS movements which has achieved a high rehabilitation rate of 97 per cent. — Bernama