KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Prime Minister Najib Razak said he will not apologise for taking every necessary step to preserve the security of Malaysians from acts of terrorism.
This includes passing a number of laws, such as the National Security Council Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), which have been criticised by some quarters for supposedly contravening civil liberties.
"I make no apology for taking every step to preserve that safety, and for making the security of all Malaysians my first priority.
"We will not wait for an outrage to take place before putting all measures necessary in place," Mr Najib told delegates at the International Conference on Deradicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism 2016 (IDC 2016) on Monday (Jan 25).
He said the best way to uphold civil liberties was to ensure the safety of the nation.
"It is right to talk about striking a balance between civil liberties and national security.
"But let me tell you this. There are not civil liberties under Daesh (another name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), and there are no shields against those who are set on committing acts of terrorism.
The Prime Minister said the ISIS threat was very real, adding that he would not allow Malaysia to be like some countries which had come under terrorist attacks but did not have suitable legislations to deal with the problem promptly.
"In some (countries), it is not an offence to support Daesh, nor to travel abroad for terrorist-military training.
"I will not allow Malaysia to be so open to infiltration. The law is there to protect us all, but the intentions of those who want to bomb, maim and behead can never be placed above the peaceful majority who firmly reject violence and war," he added.
Foreign officials and delegates from Asean and its nine strategic partners, including Australia, France, Italy, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States, are expected to participate in the two-day conference.