Malaysia, China to work together to fight militancy in all forms: Hishammuddin

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia and China will work together to fight militancy in all forms, said Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

He added that both countries were now identifying areas believed to be used as the grounds for militant activities.

"We are working across divides and fault lines. Currently, we are in the midst of identifying the hotspots," he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call by China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi here yesterday.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin said both countries need to beef up their military cooperation and defence industries, as agreed earlier this year in Beijing during the 40th anniversary celebration of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.

"If we get this right, nothing can stop us from moving further ahead in the future," he said.

Mr Hishammuddin made the comments following reports that security at all Immigration checkpoints in Malaysia had been tightened after four Chinese Uighur militants had transited in Malaysia before they were arrested in Indonesia.

The Indonesian authorities reportedly found that the four Uighurs had bought fake passports in Thailand and flown to Kuala Lumpur before heading to Bandung in West Java.

The four then travelled to Makassar in South Sulawesi, where three Indonesian militants picked them up for a ride to Poso.

The report said that the elite Detachment 88 police squad arrested seven suspected terrorists in Poso over the weekend, including the four individuals allegedly from Xinjiang province.

The Jakarta Post reported that the foreigners were planning to join a terrorist cell in Sulawesi, where a number of groups and individuals, including convicted terrorist Abu Bakar Baasyir, are known to have voiced their support for the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

On another matter, Mr Hishammuddin said China was looking forward to Malaysia's stewardship of Asean with the aim of improving people-to-people exchanges and more robust ties between China and the region.

Mr Yang said: "Bilateral cooperation would greatly help us as Malaysia takes over the chairmanship of Asean next year."

He added that there were positive signs that bilateral trade between Malaysia and China could reach the planned target of US$150 billion (S$191.5 billion) by 2017.

Mr Yang said both governments need to raise mutual investment and participate in each other's construction projects.

He said it was also important to maintain high-level diplomatic relations ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing next month.

"We look forward to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's active participation at the summit, as Malaysia plays an important role in the success of the meeting," he added.