Regardless of size or scale, Malaysia takes all threats seriously and will crush all forms of terrorist activity on its soil, Home Minister Zahid Hamidi said in an interview.
"No threat is a small threat. Therefore, we will continue our effort in combatting terrorism. We do not want our country to be used as a militant hub," he told Khabar Southeast Asia. "No extremism should be tolerated."
Zahid confirmed Malaysia arrested several suspected terrorists, including on May 3rd, 11 Malaysians allegedly belonging to violent extremist Islamic groups posing as humanitarian organisations.
It preceded other terrorism-related cases in May, notably the May 14th arrest of a South Asian man and May 25th arrests of three suspected Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) members.
"They use Malaysia as a base to collect funds, spread their propaganda and attempt to revive the defunct terrorist group at the international level," AFP quoted Police Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar as saying about suspected LTTE activities.
And on June 13th, police captured three men including an alleged senior militant leader, whom Abu Sayyaf had trained in the southern Philippines.
All the arrests signal a warning from the government, the home minister continued.
"We have no compromise for any jihad mission and extremism will not be tolerated in Malaysia," Zahid said.
Commenting on the arrest of the 11 Malaysians, Kuala Lumpur resident Ali Thalib Zaki said not all humanitarian missions in Syria have bad intentions.
"A few of them are sincere in helping war victims," he told Khabar. "However, I agree that the government must be alert for any possibility that militants will use humanitarian efforts to transport themselves to Syria for jihad purposes."
Jihadists no real threat at home: expert
Terrorists have used Malaysia as a transit and planning site, but have been unable to establish themselves here, according to Abdul Razak Ahmad, associate professor at National Defence University.
"It is hard to connect the dots when you consider the distance and differences in environment, culture, and values. Even the Malaysian radical militants found it impossible to establish a training ground in Malaysia," Abdul Razak told Khabar. "They have all gone to other countries such as the southern Philippines or Afghanistan for military training."
In his opinion, Islamists in the region are more concerned about the jihadist cause in the Middle East, including in Syria.
"It poses no threat to Malaysia. How can it be a threat? It is not a cause that has a following in Malaysia," he said.
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