Malaysia’s Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein recently attended the third plenary session at the 16th Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) ShangriLa Dialogue Summit in Singapore on June 3, 2017. The summit saw twenty-two visiting ministers who took part in the roundtable dialogue in which security issues as well as regional and international cooperation was discussed.

NO TO MILITARIZATION OF SCS BY CHINA

Hishammuddin, in an interview on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue stated that Malaysia is maintaining its stand of opposing any militarisation of islands in the South China Sea. He added that “We opposed the militarisation of the artificial island.”

Although China and all 10 members of the ASEAN contries has reached an agreement on the rough outline of a legally binding code of conduct (CoC) designed to prevent clashes in the strategic South China Sea, Malaysia’s major concern is still the “unintended and accidental incidents at sea or in the air” in which could escalate out of control. The issue was also raised by Indonesia’s Minister of Defence Ryamizard Ryacudu, US Pentagon chief Jim Mattis and others during the dialogue.

MALAYSIA’S CONTINUED WAR AGAINST TERRORISM

Hishammuddin at the 10th Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) Defence Ministers’ Meeting last Friday (June 2, 2017) reiterated that Malaysia is adamant in fighting the growing threat of IS and DAESH in the region.

“We are looking at the FPDA platform because if we do nothing and they (IS) do get a foothold in this region, it will affect the nation in these platform and grouping as well.”Hishammuddin

“Don’t have any doubt. We are so determined to deal with them (IS),” Hishammuddin said to reporters earlier. He said that what unfolded in the region such as in Marawi, Jakarta, Bangkok as well as in Malaysia “was something FPDA decided in the meeting to be addressed.”

The FPDA is yet another platform in the fight against terrorism in the region. In light of the recent terrorist and extreamist attack in UK and the Marawi attacks in the Phillippines, Malaysia has renewed its pledge and resolute in combatting the spread of radicalism and extreamist ideology that breeds terrorism.

NO TO TERRORISM, NO TO RADICALISM

Malaysia has taken various steps in fighting the war against terrorism. With new laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) 2015, the Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act (SMATA) 2015, enhancing the knowledge, skills and capabilities of its military and enforcement agencies and efforts in “winning hearts and minds” via social media, Malaysia has seen great success in combatting the ever growing and spreading threat of terrorism and radicallization.

With the King Salman Centre for International Peace (KSCIP) which recently began its operations on May 30, and The Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) in Kuala Lumpur, it is hoped that the multi-layered and multifaceted approach will enable Malaysia and its regional partner countries to stop the spread of terrorism and radicalistic ideologies from taking a foothold in the region.

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