PETALING JAYA: Foreign terrorists usually view Malaysia as a safe haven or transition country before continuing their activities elsewhere, the chief of the Special Branch’s counter-terrorism division said today.
Normah Ishak said this was the reason why there were not many violent terrorist acts occurring in the country.
Speaking at a forum on women’s role in terrorism financing, Normah also said 51 of the 558 people detained over terrorism links were women, with 36 of them being Malaysian.
Normah said a “pull factor” for these terror groups was Malaysia’s friendly immigration policies, with the visa-on-arrival facility for citizens from many countries, including those from which these foreign terrorists come.
“I don’t think there is any memorandum of understanding (MoU) or cooperation between terrorist groups in Malaysia and those in other countries,” she said.
Instead, she said, foreign members of terror organisations are only “transiting our area” and thus, would try very hard to avoid any confrontation with local law enforcement and the government.
“Everything is done secretly and quietly.”
She also attributed the lack of violent activities in the country to a lack of “staying power” by Malaysian members of terrorist organisations.
“They are not that resilient nor do they have the ‘staying power’ to pursue the goals of their organisation.
“Many of them don’t have the momentum or mindset to sacrifice the way other groups of terrorists do to really achieve the goals of their movement,” she said.
Of the 36 Malaysian women arrested, she said 13 have been charged and 16 released.
“Two more are being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota) and five others under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca).
“The 13 women were charged under Section 130(J), (K), (G) and (M) for links to terrorism, including for soliciting support for, or supporting, terrorism activities,” she said.