Ever since 9/11, the war against terrorism has been on the headlines of news media everywhere. The Western powers especially the US has been in the frontline in its bid to eradicate the ISIS threat and global terrorism at home and abroad.

However, not many realize that Malaysia is one of the leading countries in the region in battling extremism and terrorism. Our policies and efforts in counter-terrorism and counter-extremism has internationally recognized by the United Nations (UN) and by foreign security organizations worldwide.

Due to our strategic geographical location and our historical and cultural heritage, Malaysia is surrounded by several conflict-ridden regions such as Southern Thailand, Southern Philippines and Kalimantan, Indonesia. Terrorist and extremist groups such as Al-Ma’unah, Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM), Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf, Al-Qaeda and the infamous ISIS/ DAESH are arguably said to have used the country as a hub for recruiting, training and as a transit point for their foreign fighters.

“With the safety and security of Malaysian at home and abroad in mind, as well as that of our neighbouring ASEAN countries, Malaysia had enacted two preventive laws — the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) 2015 and Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act (SMATA) in 2015 to combat the threat of terrorism in the region.”

Together with the concept of Total Defence (HANRUH), the formation of The National Special Operations Force (NSOF), special counter-terrorism and special operations tactical units such as the PASKAL, PASKAU, Pasukan Gerakan Khas (PGK) and other defence and security related agencies and policies, it has helped established Malaysia as one of the safest countries in the world.

We even have The Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 in place to address the issue of terrorism financing which has gained world recognition and acceptance by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body aimed at combating money laundering, terrorism financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

“Malaysia has also come up with the Integrated Module in the rehabilitation and deradicalisation of terrorists and extremist, a program that is now being used as a guideline for deradicalisation programmes and counter-radicalisation strategy in New Zealand, India and several OIC member states.”

Furthermore, Malaysia had initiated the Regional Digital Counter Messaging Communication Centre aimed at synchronising efforts to counter radical and violent Islamic social media messages. This is done by removing distortions and lies about religion, retelling the narrative of Islam and conveying clear messages and present the true image of Islam, and to counter recruiting activities over social media.

Malaysia’s soft and hard approach in fighting extremism and terrorist activities has seen tremendous success over the years. Our tenacity and dedication in the global war against terrorism has kept Malaysia safe from the horrors of terrorism and extremism. It has also gained worldwide recognition from international organizations and world leaders.

It is sad to see the tireless and often thankless endeavours and sacrifices of the men and women responsible for the security and safety of the nation to be politicized and wrongly scrutinized by irresponsible and unpatriotic individuals and groups in the country. It is important to remember that without them, Malaysia would probably be facing the same horrors as what is happening now in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

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