Malaysia police to be trained to provide counselling for returning ISIS militants

KOTA KINABALU (The Star/Asia News Network) - Policemen will undergo courses aimed at providing counselling to Malaysians who join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), the Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said on Wednesday.

"Some of our young Malaysians are being influenced by (ISIS) and it is important for policemen to be equipped with the right skills like counselling to help them rehabilitate," Khalid told reporters after the signing of a memorandum of understanding to carry out research on security issues particularly in Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) between University Malaysia Sabah and police..

He said the force was looking at tying up with local universities for training police officers in psychology and counselling.

According to a government White Paper on the ISIS threat, at least 39 Malaysians had headed to Syria and Iraq as of Nov 13.

Khalid said threats of ISIS's influence in universities were minimal and police and the universities were keeping a close watch on militant activities.

"Our main aim is to ensure that our young Malaysians are not influenced by these foreign fighters going to Syria and Iraq,'' he added.

On Sabah's east coast security, Khalid said that cross border threats from kidnap for ransom groups and also the Royal Sulu Force (RSF) were still real.

On RSF still within Sabah following a series of arrest of its members and the shooting of two senior ranking RSF members in Penampang last month, Khalid said police were still monitoring the movements of certain people.

"I can't say how many are there or where they are. We are monitoring and will take action," he added.

On cross-border kidnap for ransom gangs, he said: "There are still a few (KFR) groups, Sabah is considered greener pastures for them."