Malaysians joining militant groups masquerading as aid workers, says minister

Former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Mohd Lotfi Ariffin (left) in Syria, where he was the third Malaysian to die in the war there.  -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Mohd Lotfi Ariffin (left) in Syria, where he was the third Malaysian to die in the war there.  -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK): Some Malaysians intending to join militant groups are masquerading as aid workers with humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGO), Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said on Monday.

"While we try our best to put a stop to Malaysians getting involved in terrorist and militant activities, it is hard to track and identify those who are going to join such groups because they disguise themselves as aid workers with humanitarian NGOs," Dr Wan Junaidi said in response to a question by a lawmaker in Parliament.

Dr Wan Junaidi also said that police would continue its intelligence monitoring towards those who were already suspected to be involved in acts of militancy.

"Police will arrest those suspected of terrorism who are still in Malaysia and take the appropriate action.

"We will also continue programmes like seminars and forums in government agencies, public tertiary institutions and schools to create awareness and discourage people from joining terrorism or militant activities," he added.

It was previously reported that  since December 2001, 167 Malaysians had been identified as being involved in militancy overseas, of whom 39 were with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said the government was preparing to table a White Paper on Malaysians involved in extremist activities.