Expert: IS may only be testing the waters for now

ISIS-sleeper-cellsPETALING JAYA: Islamic State (IS) has proven to be a far-sighted organisation, having appeared to have laid down plans for all possibilities, and executing them when the right time comes.

It is for this reason that the Malaysian counter-terrorism authorities should aim to always be a step ahead of the terror group, and prepare themselves for all sorts of scenarios, said terrorologist R Paneir Selvam.

He also cautioned of a bigger and more organised attack in the country, saying that IS might be saving their best assets for last.

“Our special branch has done a good job, but it has to bear in mind that IS may only be testing the waters at the moment, to see how effective our security forces are, while at the same time, identifying their weaknesses and areas that can be manipulated.

“The real attacks may be carried out by individuals least expected to be involved in terrorism acts, profiled as someone with no criminal background, high intellect, and a life that appears ordinary to outsiders.

“It is no secret that IS already has sleeper cells in Malaysia,” the chairman of the Association of Legal and Policy Researchers told FMT.

To back up his statement, Paneir cited an article by the ‘New York Times’ which stated that IS had, more than two years ago, deployed its militants back to their home countries to sit an wait for the time when the group can no longer carry its mission effectively in Iraq and Syria.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim yesterday said the police were keeping tabs on students in private colleges who were believed to be promoting IS ideology.

However, Paneir, a lecturer in terrorism at Help University, believes that the threat of IS attacks may also come from those living near the country’s borders.

“Our borders are porous due to certain factors (such as corruption and IS sympathisers). It is easy to sneak in not only illegal firearms, but also possible militants.”

Last year, a report compiled by the Special Branch over a period of 10 years revealed that a startling 80 per cent of law enforcement and security officers at Malaysian borders were corrupt.

It also stated that many of these officers were directly involved in syndicates smuggling drugs, weapons and humans.