KUALA LUMPUR - A top official of Malaysia's ruling Umno plans to screen uncensored videos of beheadings committed by ISIS militants during his closing speech to the party's general assembly on Saturday, Malaysian media has reported.
Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi hopes the shock tactic would hammer home the need for tough measures to curb the influence of extremist Islamist groups in Malaysia, according to the reports.
However, an aide would not confirm to The Straits Times whether Mr Zahid would carry through with a showing of the horrific videos made by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), saying "I have the material but let me check".
On Wednesday, Malaysia's English daily New Straits Times quoted Mr Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, as telling reporters that he would screen the full videos as a "warning" to Umno delegates of what could happen in Malaysia if they did not unite against the threat of extremism.
"If they still do not wise up and realise the seriousness to be united, this will happen," the paper reported him saying. "I want to show them (the delegates) that the threat is real."
Since June, the Sunni Islamic ISIS has overrun large parts of Iraq and Syria in its ambition to establish a caliphate in the region. The extremist group has massacred large numbers of people it deem as non-Islamic, as well as government forces and several Western hostages. The group has posted video footages of some of the killings by decapitation online.
Mr Zahid's comments on the ISIS threat followed the tabling of a White Paper - Addressing the threat of Islamic State (as ISIS is also known) - in Parliament by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The White Paper provided details of the emergence of ISIS, the threat it poses, the group's impact on Malaysians and the dangers of allowing the spread of its "skewed" Islamic teachings and violent tactics to take hold in the country, NST reported.
The Malay Mail Online reported the White Paper as saying that 17 Malaysians had joined ISIS and another 22 had joined Ajnad al-Sham, an alliance of Islamist groups active in Syria.
On Friday Mr Zahid confirmed that a new anti-terrorism law proposed by the government would contain "preventive measures" .
Critics fear that such a law would mark a return to detentions without trial that could open the door to power abuse, but Mr Zahid said such stronger measures were needed because existing laws only deal with terrorism after an act is committed.
In addition to strengthening present laws, he said his Home Ministry was exchanging information with other ministries as well as international enforcement bodies to keep a lid on terrorist group activities.
After a closed-door meeting held with the Umno Overseas Club and student representatives, he said: "We are taking action to monitor these activities to ensure the country's peace and security remain protected."