KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communications Centre to counter terrorism is expected to be set up in Malaysia within this year.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Wednesdsay that Malaysia was chosen to establish the centre, due to the country's commitment to combat terrorism through introducing new laws as well as providing avenues for rehabilitation and re-radicalisation of militants.
"Recruitment of militants is being done through social media, especially by the Islamic State (IS) terror group. This messaging centre will be vital in the effort to fight the spread of IS propaganda," said Dr Ahmad Zahid.
He added that the establishment of the centre would follow the template of what is currently practised in the United States and United Arab Emirates.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, was speaking to the media at the launch of the General Police and Special Equipment Exhibition and Conference Asia.
He told reporters that the centre would be set up within the year, adding that the centre would be used not only by Malaysia, but by Asean countries along with Australia and New Zealand.
"This centre will be a point of reference and synchronisation of efforts in countering terrorism effectively. It will be fully operated by the police and other enforcement agencies, including Immigration," he said.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said details of setting up this initiative, also known as RDC3, are being finalised in collaboration with the United States.
He said the US is very keen to see the centre established as soon as possible to counter the spread of IS propaganda among Internet-savvy Muslims.
"The US will help in three aspects - training, equipment and operational approach.The centre will be located in Kuala Lumpur. It will use direct online engagement to counter terrorist messaging used to recruit foreign fighters and raise funds for the terror movement," said Dr Ahmad Zahid.
During a meeting with Dr Ahmad Zahid in Washington earlier this month, US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that a Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communications Centre would be set up in Malaysia.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said Mr Kerry also confirmed that Malaysia would host the centre to take the fight against the violent extremism of IS to cyberspace.