Malaysia cops to beef up elite units to handle terrorism

The VAT 69 Elite team performing a tactical self-defence action during their 48th anniversary programme at PGA Ulu Kinta, Perak. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

IPOH (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian police has said it will strengthen the General Operations Force, specifically the VAT 69 commando unit and Special Action Unit, in order to handle terrorist threats more effectively.

The police's Internal Security and Public Order Department director, Commissioner Zulkifli Abdullah, said the police chief had agreed to fill around 100 vacancies in VAT 69 and 50 in the Special Action Unit.

"Together with the Special Branch, we have been obtaining important information that enabled us to take effective action against militant groups such as the Islamic State," he said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

"This approval will help strengthen our elite squads so that we are always ready to deal with threats," he told reporters on Monday (Oct 23).

"Apart from terrorist threats, it will also focus on cross-border crimes that involve the smuggling of drugs, cigarettes, firearms, and even illegal immigrants," he said.

"The intelligence gathered will allow our elite VAT 69 and Special Action Unit to act effectively against these lawbreakers. We can expect the number of arrests and seizures to increase once the division is fully operational," he added.

Datuk Seri Zulkifli added the new division's role may be expanded.

"Once everything has been set in motion, the safety conditions at our borders - both land and sea - will be improved," he said.

Commissioner Zulkifli said the police would need to do more aggressive recruiting for the elite squads.

"The job requires great physical and mental resilience just to pass the training. I hope that by getting more students involved in our activities, we will be able to attract more applicants," he said.

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