‘Govt may use deradicalisation programme on foreigners’

zahid-warga-asing1BAGAN DATUK: The government has not ruled out the possibility of using the deradicalisation programme on foreigners detained for their involvement in extremist activities as an effort to combat terrorism.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi however, stressed that implementing such a programme would require getting the green light from the foreigner’s country of origin.

“The deradicalisation programme is basically for Malaysians detained for involvement in activities related to extremism and terrorism. However, if foreign fighters ‘hide’ in the country in whatever capacity, position or job, they can be sent home.

“If deradicalisation is required, we will carry it out with the consent of their (foreigner’s) country of origin,” he told reporters after meeting leaders of the Indian community at the Traditional Indian Village at Jalan Feri, Simpang Empat, Hutan Melintang, here today.

Zahid who is also the Home Minister said this when referring to a statement from Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar yesterday pertaining to the detention of three Turkish nationals recently on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities.

The Home Minister said the three suspects, comprising two academicians and a businessman, were being investigated to determine if they were involved or linked to any international terrorist groups or if they were operating individually.

“We do not want foreigners in Malaysia, whether they are under the expatriate programme, skilled professional, semi-skilled professional or tourists to have a specific agenda for being in Malaysia.

“We hope steps taken can ensure Malaysia is free from elements of terrorism that can be detrimental to the harmony and peace of Malaysia that has a multiracial population, is multicultural and has multiple religions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zahid said the National Registration Department (NRD) had received 4,300 applications for identity cards from the Indian community, especially those born before ‘Merdeka’ but without any valid documents.

“We will gather all documents of applicants who do not have identification cards but have been in Malaysia before Aug 31, 1957 or those who were born after Independence but do not have identity cards under Perkara 15(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan atau Perkara 19(1) Perlembagaan Persekutuan,” he said.

He said that in Bagan Datuk, a mobile unit had been set up with the help of a political party, non-governmental organisation (NGO), residents’ association and temple committee, to solve issues involving identity cards.