KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 (Bernama) — Malaysia today reiterated its commitment to support regional efforts in fighting terrorism and terrorism financing by sharing information, sharing expertise and experience, and through joint enforcement action.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia was committed to sharing expertise and experience specifically in relation to the Integrated Deradicalisation Module for Terrorists and the Counter-Messaging Centre, which were among the key initiatives that had proven to be effective.
“We welcome regional and international partners to provide us with the details of individuals, groups and organisations that pose a threat and are involved in terrorism and terrorism financing at the regional level, to be placed under Malaysia’s domestic terrorists list and to be subjected to asset-freezing measures under Malaysian law,” he said in his opening keynote address at the 3rd Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit here.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, noted that Malaysia had been consistent and serious in the pursuit to strengthen its domestic legal framework and policies to keep up with the emerging risks and trends in terrorism financing.
This, he said, was demonstrated through the amendment and enactment of various laws related to terrorism and terrorism financing over the past few years, including amendments to the Penal Code, the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA) and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959.
Ahmad Zahid said the government had also enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 and Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act 2015 (SMATA).
“The amendment of AMLA, for example, has resulted in the freezing of funds related to terrorists of more than RM1 million. Similarly, these laws have provided a significant foundation to our law enforcement authorities in the investigation of terrorism and terrorism financing, resulting in the arrest of more that 300 terrorists, Malaysians and foreign nationals,” he said.
In addition to criminal justice measures, the Deputy Prime Minister said, Malaysia had greatly stressed on the importance of the ‘soft approach’ which emphasised the aspect of prevention and rehabilitation, operationalised through the Integerated Deradicalisation Module for Terrorists.
“I am delighted to announce that 289 terrorists underwent the deradicalisation module from 2001 until now. Fascinating enough, it has seen a success rate of 97.5 per cent, where 282 were disengaged from terrorist activities,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said that since Malaysia had a long sea border, border control had also been strengthened through an integrated approach such as the Advanced Passenger Screening System and enhanced security features on international travel documents.
“It is hoped that effective implementation of these measures will deter the use of Malaysia as a transit point and safe haven for terrorists and their supporters,” he said, adding that Malaysia had also established the Counter-Messaging Centre to monitor social media content as well as to counter terrorist narrative and rhetoric.
On the summit, Ahmad Zahid expressed his confidence that it would provide an effective platform for productive and mutually beneficial discussions and operational outcomes.
The summit is being hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia in partnership with Australia and Indonesia’s financial intelligence agencies.
The four-day summit summit, which started on Monday, has gathered more than 350 specialists and professionals from international organisations to share their insight on the latest terrorism financing issues and developments.