ALOR SETAR: The recent detention of 17 men, believed to be planning attacks on several locations in the country, was a clear indicator that the threat of the Iraq and Syria Islamic State (ISIS) in Malaysia had become more serious and dangerous.
Dean of the Ghazali Shafie Graduate School of Government, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Prof Dr Mohd Kamarulnizam Abdullah said the detention showed that Malaysia’s status in the eyes of the IS had changed.
“The detention of the 17 people is proof that Malaysia is no longer a transit country for the IS militants, but is now a target of their members.
“The threat of the IS militant group in this country is real and not a political game as claimed by certain parties,” he told Bernama today.
Dr Mohd Kamarulnizam said what is certain is that the threat from the IS militants to Malaysia is bigger than the security threats from the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM).
“IS is more dangerous than JI and KMM,” said the academician whose specialisation is in the area of terrorism, political violence and Islamic militancy.
While the JI and KMM targeted America and the Western countries, IS was more focused on countries which do not practise Syariah laws.
On April 5, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar announced the police had detained 17 members of the IS militant group in Kuala Lumpur and Kedah who were planning attacks on several locations in the Klang
The militants who were detained by members of the Counter-Terrorism Division of the Police Special Branch, had also planned to kidnap several dignitaries.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said the militant group also planned to make bombs to use in the attacks.
Since 2013, police had detained 93 suspects who were believed to have joined the IS militant group, while 63 were detected to be in Syria to fight alongside the militants there.
Dr Mohd Kamarulnizam said the IS militant cells in this country were operating independently of each other, although they had received the same instructions.
He urged the public to view the threat of the IS militant group seriously and said all parties should set aside their political differences and focus on this threat.
He said the inability of some people to view this threat seriously could arise from the lack of detailed information of the authorities’ operations towards these people.
However, he said, the parties involved should understand that intelligence information was very sensitive and any leaks could jeopardise the operations to counter terrorist activities.
“Anti-terrorist activities are based on pre-emptiveness, aimed at combating it before it happens. We should not only believe that there is an IS threat after there has been a terrorist attack,” he said.
Dr Mohd Kamarulnizam also urged the authorities to monitor the rat trails along the Malaysia-Thailand border which could potentially become the entry and exit points of the IS militants into this country. -Bernama