Malaysia a 'dumping ground' for deported ISIS fighters

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia has become a dumping ground for foreign fighters prevented from entering Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to the New Straits Times daily.

Citing intelligence sources, it said yesterday that some of these dozens of "unwanted tourists" were only flagged as high-risk individuals by the deporting country after they had entered Malaysia, a choice destination because it is predominantly Muslim and offers visa-free entry to many nations.

These sources revealed that there were about 30 such individuals who had entered Malaysia after being detained at airports in other countries for their potential risk to national security.

Malaysian intelligence operatives have tracked down most of these individuals, who they say were not supposed to be sent to Malaysia in the first place. "The problem is that these foreigners departed from all parts of the world before being arrested in Istanbul, Turkey. Instead of being deported to their last port of disembarkation, they were given the 'option' to be deported to Malaysia," a source said. "We have become a dumping ground..."

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

Counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said it was possible that these deportees "would look for a chance to plan an attack (in Malaysia) since their aim to go to Syria had been foiled".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysia a 'dumping ground' for deported ISIS fighters'. Print Edition | Subscribe