KL working with Jakarta to stop entry of convicted militants

Dr Zahid, who was hosting a Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house yesterday, said Malaysia and Indonesia are exchanging biometric data.
Dr Zahid, who was hosting a Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house yesterday, said Malaysia and Indonesia are exchanging biometric data.

PUTRAJAYA • The Malaysian authorities are working closely with Indonesia to prevent Indonesians convicted of terrorism from entering Malaysia, says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said Malaysia is particularly concerned in the light of the impending release of some 300 followers of radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the former leader of militant group Jemaah Islamiah, from prison.

"We are worried that about 300 supporters of Abu Bakar Bashir, who have been sentenced for terror activities in Indonesia, are going to be released," said Datuk Seri Zahid.

The Malaysian Immigration Department and its Indonesian counterpart are working closely with each other in this regard, he added.

"Both are exchanging information, including biometric data, so that these people who are released can be prevented from entering the country to spread IS propaganda among Malaysians," Dr Zahid said at a Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at his official residence, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He also said Malaysia and Indonesia were exchanging Interpol data, and discussing ways to de-radicalise and rehabilitate those influenced by ISIS.

Dr Zahid, who is also Home Minister, added that the police were working closely with state Islamic religious departments to monitor the spread of ISIS ideology.

Meanwhile, National Security Council (NSC) secretary Alias Ahmad disclosed that the council is proposing a visa requirement for Middle Eastern visitors to check the entry of ISIS militants into the country.

"We'll see whether we should impose visa requirements on countries involved in conflicts or countries that we have identified to be sources of IS militant activities. If (militants) can enter freely, it will be hard for us to track them when they are here," he said.

Datuk Seri Alias said the NSC would also direct Bank Negara and the Companies Commission of Malaysia to monitor financial transactions between Malaysian firms and international companies to curb the channelling of funds to the militant group.

He said the NSC was also monitoring social media in and outside the country and constantly working with intelligence agencies abroad.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2016, with the headline 'KL working with Jakarta to stop entry of convicted militants'. Print Edition | Subscribe