KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s legal and regulatory framework in fighting terrorism financing has gained the world’s confidence, says Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi.
The regulatory initiatives have contributed to the stability of Malaysia’s financial system and economic development, he said.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 required financial institutions to promptly submit suspicious transaction reports to the financial intelligence unit of Bank Negara, he said.
Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said terrorists needed substantial resources to operate their training facilities, acquire weapons and travel to perpetuate their nefarious activities.
“Without the necessary funds, they would not be able to execute many of their activities.
“The spate of terrorist attacks has continued to rise, and the correlation between such attacks and terrorism financing is significant,” he said.
Further substantiating his point on the issue, he said that to weaken and neutralise terrorism, it would be necessary for the authorities to detect, reduce and cut the financial flows of terrorist criminal organisations.
Zahid said that based on the commitment demonstrated and the continuing efforts to improve its anti-money laundering and combating financing-of-terrorism initiatives, Malaysia was last year granted membership to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a policy-making body established in 1989 by the G-7 Summit in Paris.
The body aims to promote effective implementation of legal and regulatory measures for combating money laundering, terrorism financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
As a FATF member country, Malaysia was recognised by the international community as a country that was seriously committed to fighting money laundering and terrorism financing, said Zahid.
Such recognition, he said, would enhance the country’s strategic position in gaining wider access to the global financial market, particularly the capital market.
Going forward, this would further develop Malaysia as an excellent hub for finance and banking in the region and in the world at large, he added.
Touching on the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State in this country, Zahid said Malaysia had enacted two preventive laws – the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) 2015 and Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act (SMATA) 2015.
Besides, the Penal Code imposed a severe penalty of imprisonment of up to 30 years or for life or the death penalty for terrorism-related offences, he said.
“Malaysia is a strong advocate of the global war against terrorism,” he said.
In drawing attention to the regional front, Zahid said Malaysia and other Asean member states maintained strong cooperation to deal with security matters, including terrorism-related issues.
He also said Malaysia had become a state party to most of the international conventions and protocols on combating terrorism.